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Trinidad union says investors interested in refinery

PORT OF SPAIN, September 20, 2018 – Trinidad and Tobago’s Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) has proposed bringing in outside investors to run the Pointe-à-Pierre refinery instead of shutting it down completely, local media reported Thursday.

At the end of August, NOC Petrotrin announced it would cease refining operations before the end of the year, citing the need to balance finances and make its operations more sustainable amid major losses and rising debt.

 

However, OWTU has been working to convince Petrotrin’s board to keep the refinery open. According to president-general Ancel Roget, the union has received calls from several interested investors looking to provide a lifeline for the country’s refining sector.

“We are saying there can be a lease arrangement where the people of Trinidad and Tobago can still own the assets, and at the same time, they can get something out of it, and where people can be gainfully employed and where you can have a profitable company on the E&P side, and of course in some sort of joint venture arrangement with the refinery side,” Roget told reporters.

A follow-up meeting has been scheduled for next Thursday between the NOC and OWTU to discuss the proposal.

Petrotrin had initially said that 1,700 workers would be laid off due to the closing of the facility, but earlier this week, Wilfred Espinet, the NOC’s chairman, said that figure would be closer to 3,500 as the company undergoes a complete restructuring process.

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