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Energy Chamber: People must be held accountable
The Energy Chamber says it is "very concerned" about the allegations being made about fraud in the transfer and sale of oil from A&V Drilling to Petrotrin.
It is urging a speedy conclusion to the internal investigations and that Petrotrin takes all appropriate measures based on the final findings of the investigation, including referring the report to the police once due process is followed.
The Chamber said it supports any comprehensive investigation into operators who sell oil to Petrotrin and appropriate action being taken whenever appropriate.
It said "people must be held accountable for their action or inaction."
According to the Chamber the lease and farm-out operatorships and incremental production sharing contract systems have delivered approximately 50 million barrels of oil to Petrotrin since the programme was founded in the late 1980s.
The Chamber added that this oil could not have been profitably produced by Petrotrin and would have remained in the ground without the involvement of the smaller local and international oil companies in this programme.
As a result the Chamber said "the current issues concerning the transfer of oil from one operator must not be used to discredit a programme that has brought significant benefits to Trinidad & Tobago."
What the allegations made have done according to the Chamber is "underscore the need to modernize the operations of the state-owned oil company and to ensure that the highest international operating standards are applied to the company."
It said there are "easily available automated technologies that are designed for custody transfer that can ensure accurate easily auditable measurement of both the quantity and quality of oil being transferred to Petrotrin."
This technology it said is already utilized by some of the member companies of the Chamber who operate in partnership with Petrotrin.
It is therefore encouraging the state oil company to adopt the technology across the entire sector.
The Chamber said "manual systems that rely upon batch quantity and quality sampling by an individual will always be open to manipulation and collusion."
Petrotrin's systems are not metered and they currently use a "guaging system," which involves checking capacity with the use of a dip stick to determine how much oil is in the tank.