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New evidence can clear A&V—Ramesh

Friday, April 27, 2018

A newly-found supplemental internal Petrotrin report could vindicate A&V Drilling in the fake oil scandal, according to the company’s attorney Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Maharaj said he could not provide the media with a copy of the Supplemental Internal Audit report leaked to him as he wanted to be fair to the Government.

The document, Maharaj said, was passed to him by St Augustine MP Prakash Ramadhar who got it through his constituency office. Maharaj said he intends to forward the report to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, who has admitted to being a close friend of A&V Drilling owner Nizam Baksh.

Maharaj said he expected Petrotrin and the Government to take urgent steps to “redress the injustice done to A&V Drilling.”

The company’s contract with Petrotrin was terminated after the findings of two international reports stated that A&V Drilling was paid for crude oil it did not produce.

Maharaj said the document provides reliable evidence that the “present system utilised by Petrotrin in receiving and measuring crude oil was seriously flawed.”

He noted that the findings of Kroll Consulting Canada Co and Gaffney, Cline & Associates of the United Kingdom were concealed by Petrotrin officials who used it to unfairly terminate A&V’s contract.

Petrotrin is reported to have paid US$8 million to the A&V Drilling for oil it never received.

Maharaj said: “The conclusions of this Supplemental Internal Audit report were shocking and clearly identified a lack of adherence to Standard Operating Procedures by Petrotrin’s refinery personnel, inaccurate measurements of fluid volumes, poor crude sampling procedures, inadequate tankage for the proper treatment and storage of crude, poor supervision, lack of training and poor contract management as serious defects in the system.”

Saying A&V was one of the largest independent contractors which producd and supplied crude oil to Petrotrin, Maharaj said the company had produced evidence to show it expended $1.1 billion in capital and infrastructural investments in the Catshill Field for eight years so that oilwells could produce at maximum capacity. He also said Petrotrin owes A&V $96 million.

Saying that Petrotrin should have looked at its measurement systems before terminating A&V’s contract, Maharaj noted, “Petrotrin did not give A&V an opportunity to be heard or to answer any allegations against it before it compiled the Internal Audit Report or the Kroll and Cline Reports or the Supplemental Internal Audit report.” He said A&V’s lawyers were willing to meet with the government to have the matter resolved.

However, Petrotrin in a statement on December 22, last year said Petrotrin gave written notice of termination to A&V Drilling and Workover Limited, parent company of A&V Oil and Gas Ltd, after it communicated its findings to the company and gave it an opportunity to respond. At the time, Petrotrin chairman Wilfred Espinet said the board act only after careful consideration of all relevant matters.


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