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Tuesday 21 May 2019
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Ramnarine: Petrotrin may have to pay for oil clean-up in Venezuela

FORMER Energy minister Kevin Ramnarine says Petrotrin may have to foot the bill for clean-up operations along the Venezuelan coastal city of Guiria after the April 23 oil spill at Pointe-a-Pierre.

On April 30, Venezuelan authorities said some of the oil reached their eastern coast and the TT-Venezuela bilateral oil spill plan was triggered by a diplomatic note from the Foreign and Caricom Affairs Ministry.

In the Senate on Tuesday, Energy Minister Franklin Khan said it was “too early to say” regarding the cost of the clean-up although he agreed there were “clear protocols in incidents like this.” “The oil spill originated from TT, we cannot deny that fact,” he said, adding, “joint negotiations will take place as to what cost we will stand and what cost they will stand.” Speaking yesterday with reporters after a career guidance seminar at Naparima College, San Fernando, Ramnarine described the cleanup operations along Venezuela’s coast as an “open-ended situation” for Petrotrin.

“The bilateral oil contingency plan which they have activated says that Venezuela will take care of cleaning up on their side and then they will deal with the whole issue of cost afterwards,” Ramnarine said.

“But we don’t know what it will cost Venezuela to clean the oil on their side so there’s an open-ended situation for Petrotrin.

“What the minister said was that the cleanup of the spill on the Venezuela side would be the responsibility of the Venezuelans and after that is finished, they will sit with the Venezuelans to determine how cost is shared.

So it means obviously that Petrotrin would have to write a cheque to the Venezuelans unless the Venezuelans say, ‘You know what, don’t bother we’ll handle it.’ But Venezuela is in a state right now where they themselves don’t have money to do basic things.”


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