THE decommissioning in 2011 of the catcracker facility at State-owned Petrotrin has not had a negative impact on the company's profits, Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine said last Friday. Ramnarine, responding to a question by Opposition Senator Terrence Deyalsingh in the Senate, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain, said even with the shutting down of the catalytic fuel converter, commonly referred to as the catcracker, the company has continued to produce saleable gas.
The catcracker was shut down in April 2011 to facilitate upgrade works as part of the wider gas optimisation progamme. The importation of fuel from the United States, India, Holland, Italy and France began in May 2011.
This fuel is blended locally to produce the required grades and has so far constituted 25 per cent of the total gas supplied by Petrotrin.
The fact that the catcracker is down does not mean the refinery is not producing, Ramnarine said.
Vacuum gas oil is being produced and supplied to a ready market, he said.
VGO continues to be produced and sold as feedstock, or fuel for the catcracker, at approximately US$119.48 per barrel in amounts around 20,000 barrels per day.
Then average price for imported gas has been US$125.94 per barrel, at roughly 7.3 thousand barrels per day.
"The scheduled shutdown has had no negative impact on the finances of Petrotrin," Ramnarine said.
He said the company has also fired Bechtel as project managers for the catcracker upgrade and assumed the task itself, and the upgrade is now in its final stages.
Ramnarine, asked by Deyalsingh whether he had in fact promised a November 2012 delivery, said heavy rains in the latter part of that year affected welding and other works.