REASON TO SMILE: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Petrotrin chairman Lindsay Gillette, centre, display containers of heavy and light crude oil at yesterday's post-Cabinet press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair. At left is Petrotrin's president-designate Khalid Hassanali. —Photo: MICHEAL BRUCE

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Good news for oil company

Petrotrin's president-designate:

By Renuka Singh

A profitable mix of heavy and light crude oil could spell big things for both the energy sector and downstream industries, Petrotrin's president-designate Khalid Hassanali said yesterday.

Some 48 million barrels of crude were discovered in shallow water wells just off the coast of Point Fortin last year. The find took weeks to test and confirm and by yesterday, Hassanali was describing the find as the best in the last ten years.

"We have a combination of heavy oil, which is very viscous and the lighter oil. The lighter oil can be used to dilute the heavy oil so when you make that type of combination you get a new composite crude," Hassanali said .

Hassanali was speaking at a special post-Cabinet session focusing only on the find at the weekly press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister.

Though all the Cabinet members were present for the announcement, the Prime Minister and Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine led the entire team out of the room before the media were permitted to ask any questions. Hassanali and Petrotrin chairman Lindsay Gillette stayed on to answer questions with three other company representatives.

Hassanali said the combination of light and heavy crude was good news for the State-owned Pointe-a-Pierre refinery.

"We are at a stage where the refinery is a lot more versatile, where the appetite for crude input and the ability to manufacture the types of products that the world and the Caribbean and local economy can take," he said.

He said the find will also increase the local production profit margins. The refinery capacity stood at 150,000 barrels per day, but only 50,000 came from local fields while the other 100,000 was imported at prices that are subject to freight, he added.

"Therefore the higher the proportion of indigenous crude it will enhance our profitability," he said.

Petrotrin does not sell raw crude, but refined products and Hassanali said for every single Petrotrin employee, a further 20 people in various downstream sectors would profit from such a find.

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