Increased concern in Trinidad over expired methanol contract

(Guardian of Trinidad) The Confederation of Regional Business Chambers is concerned about the lack of word on negotiations between the National Gas Company (NGC) and Methanol Holdings Ltd (MHTL) on MHTL’s expired gas supply contract.

MHTL was forced to idle its M4 and M5000 plants last Thursday after failing to reach an economically viable gas supply contract with NGC.

T&T Proman Limited operates MHTL. A major local employer for over 30 years his family of companies employs over 1,000 employees. The woman’s managing director Claus Cronberger who told employees about the contract issue emphasized the company’s commitment to negotiations with NGC and resolving the issue.

He said his top priority is maintaining operations and ensuring everyone’s livelihood and at this time he did not foresee any negative impact on the number of employees.

Cronberger added: “However, if we are forced to take action to close any of our plants over a longer period, we will need to re-examine the impact on our operations as a whole.”

He acknowledged that it is a turbulent time for employees.

NGC said it is committed to negotiating towards resolution.

Energy Minister Franklin Khan did not respond to calls on the matter yesterday but officials said there had been no discussions between the two parties since March 31 and as yet no dates have been set for negotiations.

The development of MHTL / NGC has been reported worldwide. Oil Now’s announcement noted that there is growing concern in T&T about the future of the gas industry.

When news of the contract expired last Thursday morning broke down the Confederates responded immediately citing deep concerns and concerns.

“The Confederation encourages the spirit and commonality of goodwill, mutual understanding and compromise to be the context for the ongoing management and conduct of these negotiations,” the group said in a statement.

“Both the national and global economies experience deep uncertainty and any further disruption would have dire consequences on the economic, business and social landscapes. We urge NGC and Proman to remain at the negotiating table and work in solidarity to confirm the complex issues that need to be addressed, and reach a friendly solution in the shortest time possible. ”

Yesterday Confederate coordinator Jai Leladharsingh added: “Members whose industries are the lifeblood of the peoples communities around Trinidad and Tobago are likely to be affected by this. It can have a profound effect on national economic structures. Its outcome has influenced Trinidad and Tobago’s image, investment climate and confidence both locally and internationally. We also want to know when a further gas inspection will be carried out. ”

Opposition MP David Lee, who criticized the Government’s handling of the negotiations as unprotected given the current serious economic situation, said investors should be encouraged to stay rather than be motivated and forced to move out.

Lee said that until January seven companies had closed or their plants had been forced to starve.

“These shutters, like the other large petrochemical plant shutters in recent months, are a direct result of the PNM Government’s unsuccessful gas price negotiations conducted in Houston, as well as an inability to address the gas shortage , ”He said.

“There can be no blame for COVID-19 or global market conditions because since 2017 we have seen large petrochemical plants close with giants like Yara closing down in 2019, all because of unattractive conditions created by the Government. ”