Petrotrin's cost of refinery upgrade escalates

Curtis Williams
OGJ Correspondent

PORT OF SPAIN, Jan. 26 -- State-owned Petroleum Co. of Trinidad & Tobago Ltd. (Petrotrin) said the cost of upgrading its 175,000-b/d Pointe-a-Pierre refinery has escalated to $1.3 billion from earlier projections of just $350 million.

Imtiaz Ali, the company's general manager of strategy and business development, said the increase was due to rising construction costs and delays in receiving certificates of environmental clearance from regulators.

Ali said, “It is true we made mistakes in the way we estimated the cost of some of these projects, but we have learned our lessons. In addition, we did not realize that the cat cracker required so much work until we pulled it down, and that also significantly added to the increase in costs.”

Speaking at an energy conference in Port of Spain, Ali said the refinery upgrade—to be completed by November—was crucial because its products were increasingly uncompetitive and margins were declining. He said the upgrade will allow the refinery to produce more gasoline in its mix and a higher-quality diesel fuel.

Petrotrin also produces 74,000 boe/d, and Ali plans to drill an additional 18 developmental wells to increase production and make it more reliable.

He revealed Petrotrin will undertake 215 sq km of 3D seismic on land that could lead to additional drilling for oil.

Petrotrin has 446.7 million boe of proved reserves.

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