Sun | Mar 7, 2021

T&T grants Patriotic additional time to secure financing for oil refinery

Published:Friday | January 22, 2021 | 12:18 AM

Colm Imbert, finance minister of Trinidad & Tobago.
Colm Imbert, finance minister of Trinidad & Tobago.

The government of Trinidad & Tobago has given Patriotic Energies and Technologies a second extension to prove its ability to finance the purchase of the Pointe-a-Pierre oil refinery.

In a statement late Wednesday, the government acceded to a request from the company to rethink Monday’s Cabinet decision to seek another partner for the restart of the refinery. Finance Minister Colm Imbert, in his capacity as corporation sole, said the government has granted Patriotic a 15-day extension to secure the financing. It followed

Imbert’s announcement a day before, on Tuesday, that Cabinet had withdrawn from the offer, alluded to an inability by Patriotic to secure the US$500-million financial commitment to purchase the refinery – a claim the company has denied.

By letter dated September 25, 2019, Patriotic was informed that it was the preferred bidder for certain assets of Guaracara Refining Company Limited and Paria Fuel Trading Company Limited.

Imbert said the first item in the list of deliverables referred to in that letter to Patriotic was “confirmation of its ability to finance the purchase and operation of the refinery”.

In response, Patriotic has vowed to do all it can this time around to convince the government that it is indeed the best fit for the task at hand. In a letter to Imbert, dated January 18, Patriotic insisted it had the backing of Swiss investment bank Credit Suisse to finance the acquisition price of US$500 million.

On Tuesday, Patriotic’s chairman and president-general of its parent company, the Oilfield Workers’ Trade Union, Ancel Roget, urged the prime minister to take into consideration information regarding the backing of Credit Suisse, which the government may not have been privy to before the Cabinet took its decision.

A director of Patriotic, Ozzi Warwick, noted that: “We did make a request and they have acceded to our request for further discussions.”

Warwick said that as the company has done in the past, it intends to meet every stipulation outlined, including the February 5 deadline, and to, this time, sway the government to give them the rights to own and operate the refinery.