Cabinet awards MHTL US$1.9b for new project
The Cabinet has agreed to award Methanol Holdings Trinidad Ltd (MHTL) the contract for the establishment of an ammonia and downstream derivative project estimated at US $1.9 billion. The Colonial Life Insurance Company (Clico), which is now managed by the Government, has 56.3 per cent shareholding in MHTL. “As a result Cabinet has agreed that the dividends of the shareholding of Clico be assigned in the Clico Debt Obligation. There are 23.1 per cent of MHTL shares in the Statutory Fund and the Minister of Finance will have the additional shares of MHTL 35.01 per cent admitted to the Statutory Fund resulting in a one hundred per cent of Clico’s holdings in MHTL be placed in the Statutory Fund,” said Energy Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan.
She was speaking yesterday at the post Cabinet press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, Port-of-Spain. “It was recognised by the evaluation committee that MHTL be the preferred bidder. MHTL scored high in several areas. This report went to the energy sub committee of Cabinet and then to Cabinet. The capital investment for this project is in the order of US$1.9 billion over a 44 month period,” said Seepersad-Bachan. She said seven companies were invited to bid for the project in August 2010.
“We did invite proposals from seven petrochemical companies which had indicated an interest previously in the manufacture of downstream derivatives. These seven companies were Yara Trinidad Ltd, PSC Nitrogen Ltd, Methanol Holding Trinidad Ltd, Point Lisas Nitrogen Ltd, Union Estate Fertiliser Ltd, More Ammonia and Energy Allied International Trinidad Development Company. Out of this, three companies gave proposals which were Yara Trinidad Ltd, Methanol Holdings Ltd and Energy Allied Trinidad Development,” she said. She said the project will employ of 2,500 people during the three year construction period. This, she said, could rise to as much as 3,500 people being employed at its peak.
“It will involve the creation of 450 permanent jobs for the operation and maintenance of this facility with an additional 500 full time equivalent jobs through the use of local companies whether direct or indirect,” she said. She said US $240 million will be spent directly on local labour and services during the construction phase of the project. In addition, the services of local financial institutions will be utilised, she said. “We have an agreement with MHTL in which the banker KFW will extend the club of banks in order to give local Trinidadian financial institutions an opportunity to participate in this,” she said. When questioned by the media on whether the Government will be lifting the gas subsidy and raising the price of gas she said the Government has no intention of doing this.