Petrotrin confirms ‘fake oil’ probe

(Trinidad Express) Petrotrin today confirmed that investigations are in progress with respect to reports of inconsistencies in the volumes reported from Trinidad’s Exploration and Production fields and that reported as received at its Pointe-a-Pierre refinery.

These investigations are focused on the volumes for fiscal 2017 and the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries has been informed.

The company issued a statement today in response to the claims made yesterday by Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar during the United National Congress’ National Congress in Couva.

Persad-Bissessar read from a Petrotrin internal audit report, saying that in July of this year Petrotrin discovered that there was a significant difference between the quantity of oil it was purchasing from one of its operators in the field and the amount being received at its Pointe-a-Pierre refinery.

She said the internal audit department at Petrotrin was asked to investigate this shortfall as figures being recorded as received at the refinery were not matching the figures that were being recorded as received from the storage tanks where the oil was being stored after being pumped from the fields by the operator.

She said it was discovered that this had been occurring since around October 2016.

Persad-Bissessar said the field from which this was happening was under the control of a person who is a close friend of the Prime Minister and a People’s National Movement (PNM) party financier.

She said an internal audit team found that Petrotrin was paying the operator for oil it did not produce.

Persad-Bissessar said it was estimated that for the period of January to June 2017 that particular field overstated its production and Petrotrin would have overpaid US$11.5 million, which was in excess of TT$80 million.

Petrotrin said yesterday that its production fields are predominantly in south Trinidad and include its own and third party operations.

“Current production from both our land and marine acreage is approximately 44,500 barrels of oil per day year to date and represents more than half of local crude oil production in Trinidad and Tobago” the company stated.

 

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