Vice President of state owned refinery suspended

Energy leader Petrotrin has been a mainstay of Trinidad and Tobago's economy for over a century. (

Energy leader Petrotrin has been a mainstay of Trinidad and Tobago’s economy for over a century. (

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Aug 3, CMC – The Vice President of Petrotrin’s refinery and marketing department has been suspended pending investigations into the recent oil spill in the southern town of Marabella.

Petrotrin chairman, Lindsay Gillette, told a news conference Saturday that vice president Mado Bachan, was suspended with pay and other suspensions were also expected but the number could not be confirmed.

The company also announced the appointment of an independent auditor to conduct further investigations on the leaking tank at the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery and a failed bund wall which was expected to contain oil spillage from tanks.

“When this board was appointed, it set up an asset main­tenance and optimisation committee to look at asset integrity issues This committee will now be expanded to include inde­­­pen­dent consultants and investigators to look at all asset in­te­grity issues. I call upon the presi­dent to provide all inspec­­­tion reports to this com­mittee and for manage­ment to co-operate fully,” Gillette said.

The spill in Marabella has caused severe discomfort to over 200 residents and is expec­ted to cost Petrotrin at least TT$5 million (One TT dollar = US$0.16 cents), said Petrotrin presi­dent Khalid Hassanali.

On Friday, president gen­eral of the Oilfields Wor­k­ers’ Trade Union (OWTU) Ancel Roget said Petrotrin was attempting to cover up its failings to properly maintain the tank by hiding documents, copies of which were obtained by the OWTU.

Hassanali had said the OWTU was correct in its infor­mation regarding the tank but there was nothing to hide.

The oil spillage, which resulted from a ruptured oil tank and the collapse of a bond wall which was supposed to contain the spilled oil from the tank, was the second major oil spill at the State-owned refinery facilities. In December, approximately 7,000 barrels of fuel oil were spilled into the Gulf of Paria.

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