Mark calls on Trinidad Petroleum to come clean on legal advice


Opposition Senator Wade Mark – Vidya Thurab

THE United National Congress say they are prepared to go to court to get the legal advice given to the Trinidad Petroleum Holdings Ltd (TPHL) after it settled a four year battle with lease operator, A&V Oil and Gas.

Speaking at a media conference on Thursday, Opposition Senator Wade Mark said that the UNC will use all their resources available including the court to get the advice as well as the management team that settled.

On Tuesday, A&V and TPHL settled their arbitration clearing the way for A&V to receive $18 million as full and final payment for any and all damages suffered by it in connection with the termination of the production sharing contract.

TPHL said the settlement avoided paying millions of dollars in damages to A&V Oil, which was awarded by an arbitration panel. In addition to the $18 million payment, A&V Oil will get a new exploration licence with national oil company, Heritage Petroleum.

Heritage will enter into an enhanced production service contract (EPSC) with A&V Oil for the purchase of crude oil for a period of ten years as an indication of the cordial nature of the settlement.

Mark said the settlement went against advice from two senior attorneys and wants the management of TPHL to disclose the advice given to them. He added that if they don’t do so, “at the soonest,” then the UNC will file for it under the Freedom of Information Act and go to court.

In June, A&V Oil successfully argued its case before an arbitration panel headed by former president of the Caribbean Court of Justice, Sir Dennis Byron. The panel said it found no evidence of corruption by A&V Oil.

The panel unanimously awarded a payment of TT$84,699,879.47 that Petrotrin held in escrow in relation to sums due on its unpaid invoices from June 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017, together with interest at a rate of three per cent per annum, from the due date of each invoice until the date when the principal sum was paid into escrow.

Additionally, the arbitrators also awarded payment to A&V Oil of the sums due on its unpaid invoices for the crude oil supplied to Petrotrin during January 1, 2018 to February 28, 2018, in the amount of US$2,284,398.40 together with interest at a rate of three per cent per annum, from the date when each payment fell due until the date of the award.

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