Title: Another Day, another Petrotrin oil spill.
The following views are those of Fishermen and Friends of the Sea and may or may not reflect the views of TAJ 92.3FM
Every week we wake up to face another Petrotrin oil spill.
According to Petrotrin’s media release, at 7:10 am (November 16, 2017) an oil spill occurred at its Trinmar Soldado North Field operations. The source of crude oil was identified to be from a pressurized pipeline where an estimated volume of 1.8 barrels of hydrocarbon was spilled. Petrotrin must be thanked for diligently reporting this latest oil spill and for the precise and calibrated measurement of the 1.8 Barrels of oil allegedly spilt.
The EMA also claim to have “thoroughly investigated” the matter and have stated that the spill was contained. If the oil pipeline is in fact a 6” pipeline and if it was in fact “pressurized”, how can only 1.8 Barrels of oil have been spilt? How long did this spill occur before being discovered? And if the “pressurized” 6” pipeline was in fact switched off, how much pressure was in the line? Wouldn’t the pressure continue to spew the oil out? Who exactly measured the 1.8 Barrels? How was this calculation made? Should the culprit determine the extent of the spill, with self investigating self?
Why was the Tier rating of this spill not established by the Ministry of Energy as mandated by the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan? This water flows into Venezuela, so there is no imminent risk to the south western peninsula, but was Venezuela notified?
Last week we had another Petrotrin onshore oil spill in Santa Flora. Again, delayed emergency response, little safety information provided to the affected public, no estimated volumes of the spilt hydrocarbon, minimal recovery efforts, and no clean up measures. Is this how our national oil company treats with an oil spill?
One month ago, on October 14th, 2017, the Chaguaramas oil spill occurred. Again no offshore cleanup or recovery, conveniently limited investigations which according to the IMA report, they were unable to board the alleged prime suspect which they deemed “unsafe to board”. This is a licensed, registered and working vessel which daily services platforms and is manned by a full crew, yet it was unsafe to board, right?
Seven months ago, on April 23rd 2017, there was the Tank 70 rupture where the incorrect total volume of oil spilled was officially reported as 30 Barrels by the careful staff at Petrotrin. In this spill the oil caused the death of a Venezuelan national when his boat engine stalled offshore and who, trapped in the thick oil, died from dehydration. within three weeks this oil reached all the way to Mexico, yet the qualified estimate given was a mere 30 Barrels. Minister Franklyn later said it was 300 barrels, but again, absolutely no transparency or accountability. Former Minister of Energy, Kevin Ramnarine stated that Tank 70 was full and contained 125,000 Barrels of oil.
Is Petrotrin only focused on damage control or is there any plan to upgrade its aging and dilapidated infrastructure? Are Government agencies falsifying and withholding the truth?
While we are plagued with the collapse of our mismanaged economy, the prestigue of a third world island owning an oil refinery is watered down by the financial and environmental degradation this company brings to our doorstep every time we awake. Last year the audited reports of Petrotrin admitted 4.6 Billion TTD in losses. How long will our vandalized treasury be forced to subsidize this lavishly run company? What are the touted restructuring plans for this failed company? With the highest overheads per capita in Trinidad and Tobago, should Petrotrin be treated any different to Caroni?
Sincerely, Gary Aboud
Fishermen and Friends of the Sea