Confidently waiting: President General of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union Ancil Roget, address members of the media at the union’s head office in San Fernando, as he responded to the Government after Patriotic Energies and Technologies Co. Ltd bid to buy the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery was rejected a second time in January.

Despite being rejected twice by the Government, Patriotic Energies and Technologies Co Ltd (Patriotic) submitted its latest correspondence, still confident of acquiring the former assets of Petotrin.

In a media release yesterday, Patriotic said that at approximately 1.45 am, it sent its response via email to Minister of Finance Colm Imbert regarding the request he made on January 20.

“We are confident that our very detailed submission will meet his favour as it demonstrates our ability to finance the acquisition price of US$500 million for Guaracara Refining and Paria Fuel Trading.

“Patriotic Energies & Technologies Co Ltd remains committed to the early restart and the successful operation of the refinery in the interest of all of Trinidad & Tobago,” the release stated.

On January 20, two days after rejecting Patriotic’s second proposal to acquire the assets, Cabinet agreed to give the company another 15 days to secure $US500 million needed for the deal. In a correspondence to Patriotic, Imbert said that in his capacity as Corporation Sole, Cabinet directed him to write to Patriotic.

He informed Patriotic that Cabinet met and decided to give the company up to February 5 to produce from Credit Suisse, a firm, binding commitment to finance the acquisition price for the assets of the Guaracara Refining Company and the Paria Fuel Trading Company.

In a media release then, Imbert reminded the public that in a letter dated September 25, 2019, the Government informed Patriotic that it was the preferred bidder for the assets. The first item on the list of deliverables was the confirmation of Patriotic’s ability to finance the purchase and operation of the assets.

A letter from Patriotic to Corporation Sole dated January 18, stated that “In our conversations with Credit Suisse, they have expressed great enthusiasm and confidence of their capacity to successfully finance the acquisition price of US$500 Million for Patriotic.”

The long-drawn-out acquisition of the old Petrotrin Point-a-Pierre refinery, port and storage facilities has hit several stumbling blocks over 15 months.

During a media conference on January 19, Energy and Energy Affairs Minister Franklin Khan said the negotiation failed because Patriotic did not show its ability to raise the required capital. Imbert supported Khan, saying that all Patriotic produced was a letter from the Royal Bank of Canada, stating their interest in assisting the company. He said the bank gave no guarantee to finance the deal.

However, Patriotic’s parent organisation, the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) said that it was the Government that mishandled the negotiation. In its initial bid in 2019, Patriotic offered an upfront payment of US$700 million, but the Government countered, granting the company a ten-year payment plan and three years moratorium.

OWTU president general Ancel Roget said the Government changed its mind after it could not free the assets from the lien it incurred from creditors. Patriotic then made another offer of US$500 million based on the Net-Present Value of the assets, but the Government rejected this as well.