Conrad Enil

Curtis Williams

Lead Editor Business

[email protected]

The National Gas Company Limited has quietly confirmed that there has been a shake-up of its board of directors following the Cabinet decision not to renew the contracts of Sean Balkissoon, one of only two directors who voted against the ill-fated NGC attempt to save Atlantic LNG Train 1, and Kenneth Allum who raised issue with it but eventually voted for the deal.

The shake-up was first reported by the Business Guardian of February 10th.

The NGC updated its website with its list of Directors and Alum and Balkissoon names were removed and replaced by Dr Joseph Ismael Khan and Dr Donnie Boodlal.

The Business Guardian had reported that Allum often challenged NGC president Mark Loquan at board meetings and it appears this did not go down well with the government.

Conrad Enill, who has been embroiled in controversy in the midst of a lawsuit from businesswoman Jenny Sharma, has retained his position as chairman of the board of directors.

Balkissoon was originally appointed director on the NGC Board on January 28, 2019.

Both Balkissoon and Allum are highly qualified with extensive experience in the energy sector.

The removal of both men comes less than six months after the Business Guardian (BG) broke the story that the NGC had thrown away a quarter billion dollars behind the failed Train 1 deal and was relying on gas contracted to the downstream petrochemical sector in its effort to restart the plant.

It is now confirmed that the money is lost as the government secretly signed a Memorandum of Agreement with bpTT, Shell and the NGC that puts an end to Train 1.

The Business Guardian had also revealed that in making the investment the directors tried to protect themselves from future litigation by asking for an indemnity for their actions.

The NGC and Keith Rowley administration tried to keep Atlantic LNG Train 1 operating in the face of BPTT and Royal Dutch Shell, both the largest shareholders of Atlantic Train 1 and the largest natural gas producers, saying they did not have natural gas to operate Train 1 and it should be shut down.

It was a risky strategy led by Loquan and the projected loss to the company could have been as high as US $64.7 million or $440 million had NGC not walked away in August last year.

In a radio interview Enill said, “If you look at what the conditions were at that point in time, the NGC found itself in a situation where most of these downstream companies were not taking the gas allocated to them. So we had a situation where we had gas, we had to pay for gas and the downstreamers were basically saying listen, on the basis of the cost that is available to us, we prefer to shut our plants down, at least for some time. And in those circumstances, we had a situation where the NGC faced a significant amount of losses.”

Enill went on further to explain what the situation was like in December 2020, “We looked at the situation where we had gas, domestic gas, and yes Curtis is correct, BP wrote us and said to us, listen we have some shortages, we think it is going to be about a month or so, we understood that was normal and we could deal with that. So we were working on the basis that we had gas, and we had no takers. We had planned a Train 1 maintenance of which the NGC would pay some portion because we are part owners in Train 1.”

He added, “Atlantic came to us and said, we need you to make a decision because by January 12, 2021 if you do not commit to the maintenance on this plant, the next opportunity that you have is in November of 2021, because immediately, as soon as your plant is maintained, we have to do shutdowns on two and then three in the normal course of things.

“We found ourselves in a situation, therefore, where, NGC took the decision that we are going to support and maintenance of the plant although the others (BPTT, Shell, the Chinese investors) decided that they were not going to so do, because we understood that we had gas that was available for domestic which we were negotiating, which if it had been converted to LNG to at least give us some revenue. That was in December.”

The NGC’s website simply says that the two new directors were appointed in February.