Lee: Refinery will be election football

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee. –

POINTE-a-Pierre MP David Lee has claimed the PNM will use the former Petrotrin refinery in his constituency as a political football in next year’s general election.

He made this claim at a news conference at UNC headquarters, Chaguanas on May 29.Lee reiterated questions the opposition had raised about the future of the refinery.

He said the refinery will be a campaign gimmick for the PNM to fool the population into believing something will happen to it.

“It will be used like a football.”

The refinery was closed in November 2018 when Petrotrin was restructured into Trinidad Petroleum Holdings Ltd (TPHL).

At a news conference on May 6, Energy Minister Stuart Young said Government remains optimistic over the sale of the refinery, as a potential buyer is getting closer to closing a deal.

He said the company still had to submit proposals and continue its due diligence as it continued the negotiation process with Government.

At a news conference at Piarco International Airport on May 19, when he returned from a trip to India, the Prime Minister said there had been no discussion between the Government and the Indian company Reliance Industries Ltd about the refinery.

Rowley and his delegation had toured Reliance’s refining and petrochemical complex in Jamnagar and were given presentations on the company’s drive towards new energy production, including solar energy and biofuels.

The media asked Rowley if the refinery was discussed or Reliance had any interest in it.

“As a matter of fact, all that was mentioned was that we do have a refinery RFP (request for proposals). We expect sometime in the not-too-distant future to be able to look at the proposals.”

He said if Reliance was interested, it could submit a proposal.

But Rowley added, “I don’t know that is a focus at this point in time.”

He said Reliance’s business model “is based on bringing in raw material to what is in effect, the largest refinery in the world.”

Reliance, Rowley continued, is not short of refining capacity, refining 1.4 million barrels of oil per day at its facility in Jamnagar.