Trinidad and Tobago: It Is In Best Interest of CARICOM If We, Not U.S., Refine Guyana’s Oil

The state-owned Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago (Petrotrin) says there was “a viable market for Guyana’s oil.”

Georgetown, Guyana — Trinidad and Tobago has been making an all-out pitch to refine Guyana’s oil, insisting that such a move would be in best interest of CARICOM.

Top officials in the twin-island republic made a strong case at the Guyana Oil and Gas Conference held on Sunday.

Astor Harris, Vice President of Refining and Marketing at the state-owned Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago (Petrotrin), told Demerara Waves Online News there was “a viable market for Guyana’s oil” at Petrotrin and the company had the capacity to refine Guyana’s crude oil to deliver a quality that should match the West Texas Intermedia valuation standard.

“The oil to be produced by Guyana can be refined in Trinidad. Even if it’s a bit light, we can blend it with other crudes because we purchase a range of crudes and then we blend them to get the products that we need,” he said.

Harris’ comments are in direct contradiction to a recent statement from former Trinidad Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine, who said Petrotrin would not be in a position to refine Guyana’s oil when commercial extraction begins in 2020/2021.

He explained that Petrotrin’s refinery is configured to refine heavy-to-medium crude, but Guyana’s reserves have been defined as light, sweet crude.

“It is possible that some of it could be used as a diluent to dilute some of the heavier crude in Trinidad, but I don’t think the refinery diet in Trinidad is what you all [Guyana] want,”Ramnarine told Demerara Waves Online News. “There could be scope for configuring the refinery to refine light crude, but upgrading the refinery to do that will require money and Petrotrin is strapped for cash.

“So, I think the immediate best bet would be to refine that crude in the U.S., which is what I think Exxon is going to do in the beginning.”

Harris, however, signaled that Port of Spain was not about to surrender the opportunity, declaring that Trinidad had a “major interest” in ensuring that Guyana was successful.

He explained that if Guyana’s oil is refined in Trinidad, it would allow Petrotrin to use its excess capacity.

According to Harris, Petrotrin has a refining capacity of approximately 168,000 barrels per day and it refines 150,000 barrels per day.


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