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N Touch
Wednesday 25 April 2018
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Khan: Petrotrin underperformance can’t continue

PETROTRN’S underperformance cannot be allowed to continue, said Energy Minister Franklin Khan, who suggested the solution lies in adopting a “cash for equity model”, a possible byword for divestment/ privatisation.

He made this known yesterday while giving the feature address at the 6th conference of the Geological Society at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain.

Khan said Petrotrin is the country’s best option for an increase in oil extraction that should aim at an extra 20,000 barrels per day.

He said a committee appointed to examine a restructuring of Petrotrin will submit its initial report next month.

He identified the State company’s weakness as its debt, refinery’s low profit margin and the high operating costs, especially in exploration and production.

Saying Petrotrin needs a significant capital injection in order to extract its fuel reserves, Khan suggested such funds come from a cash for equity model for Petrotrin.

Noting the big drop in energy revenues to the State in recent times, he said the world oil price will follow market economics rather than geo-politics.

“There are no windfalls. So be it.

We’ll have to remodel our business.” Earlier, he said a drop in investment at the upstream (exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons) had caused from 2012 to 2016, a drop in crude oil production of 12 percent, of natural gas production by 19 percent and of rig-days of 31 percent.

“The industry is at the cross roads. We need to restore stability.” He estimated that natural gas production could be grown to 1.4 trillion cubic feel per annum within the next eight years. Khan said a consultant had found that in five years time, more than half of TT’s gas production will be from projects not yet sanctioned, the project drivers being exploration costs, gas prices and fiscal growth.

He said new technology such as imaging technology helps to “prove up” or confirm the presence of oil in hitherto mature fields.

He added that 75 percent of TT’s unexplored acreage exists in deep waters, just as for Guyana’s and Suriname’s reserves.

Khan said TT’s fields of heavy oils are under-exploited, but that a new generation of techniques can now help in their extraction.

He ended by urging energy firms to hire youngsters, citing many “tech” firms such as Google and Microsoft founded by young people.

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