Petrotrin’s downstream takes hit from US shale, poor margins

Trinidad and Tobago’s state-owned oil company Petrotrin is blaming the shale oil revolution in the US and poor refining margins overall for a $60 million loss during its 2013-14 fiscal year.

Petrotrin noted that even though it has sold its crude at high prices during the first half of 2014, its refining business has been particularly hard hit because it imports 125,000 bo/d for its 175,000 bo/d refinery. It said its 50,000 bo/d production is not enough for its refinery and it has had to deal with low margins because US refineries are benefitting from “discounted” crude prices.

Petrotrin said it plans to increase crude and gas output from its Trinmar operations in Jubilee field and the continuing South West Soldado project as well as from other lease operatorship, farmout, and joint venture programs.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Energy Minister Kevin said poor margins have led to the closure of 60 refineries globally in the last 5 years, with a further 11 closures currently being contemplated. Ramnarine said, “In the Caribbean, two refineries have closed in recent years. In Europe 13 refineries have closed in the last 5 years.”

Salaries and wages account for 54.5% of Petrotrin’s recurrent budget compared with the benchmark of 35-40% for national oil companies around the world. In addition, it has a debt of $2.3 billion following several refinery upgrades in the last 5 years.

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