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Trinidad and Tobago ships gasoline to Venezuela
Posted: Monday, December 30, 2002

Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited, PETROTRIN, integrated oil company incorporated January 1993, is fully owned by the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

From: Newsday, T&T

PETROTRIN'S recent decision to ship gasoline to Venezuela will have no effect on its regular customers, the company's public relations officer Oliver Flax stated yesterday.

This in response to reports in a daily newspaper that Petrotrin has agreed to ship US$15 million worth of gasoline to strike-torn Venezuela in the wake of a formal bail-out request by the Hugo Chavez administration facing revolt and a series of crippling strikes which have led to food shortages and dry pumps at Venezuela's service stations.

It was reported that Petrotrin responded to this request by establishing a pro quid trading arrangement in which Venezuela will supply crude to Petrotrin in exchange for refined products, mainly gasoline.

In a telephone interview with the Newsday Flax said while the company planned to export approximately 300,000 barrels of gas to Venezuela's national oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) this was only due to a "company to company arrangement".

"We are not involved in the politics of Venezuela," Flax stated. "We are in the business of refining and selling products. In this case we are not dealing with the Venezuelan government at all, we are on a company to company business. We have a standing contract arrangement with PDVSA where they supply us with crude oil and we pay them money. On this occasion they said instead of giving them money we should give them gasoline and we agreed."

He said this arrangement is "a one-time thing" and would have no effect on Petrotrin's regular customers.

"In addition to supplying to our regular customers we also sell gasoline to other customers on the international market," he pointed out. "That is a regular thing. In this case they will continue to get what they are contracted to get. They are our number one priority and this arrangement will have no effect on them."

PDVSA's last shipment of crude oil arrived at the Pointe a Pierre jetty on Boxing Day and Flax said plans are in place to ensure that Petrotrin's shipment is expected to leave Trinidad either tomorrow or Wednesday.

But, Flax said, while there are no plans to continue shipping gasoline in exchange for crude oil to Venezuela the company would be willing to do so if asked.

"As long as the price is right we would sell it," he said. "We are in the business of selling products and we would sell it to anybody who could pay for it."

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