The secrecy and disregard for public transparency surrounding the status of the Niquan Plant must stop immediately.
The recent reaffirmation of a stable outlook for Niquan by Credit Rating Agency Caricris might be touted by Niquan and the government as an achievement, but it is actually a cause for significant national concern given the criteria upon which the outlook has been based, as well as the national opportunity cost which citizens will have to endure.
CariCris has noted that Niquan’s rating is “supported by legally binding supply and offtake agreements”.
The Government must be honest with the country and state, after two pandemic years with national revenues stagnating if they are still intent to follow through on such an agreement.
The Government must tell the financially burdened population if at a time when they are threatening to remove the fuel subsidy due to financial constraints, will they be utilizing millions of our tax dollars to buy all of Niquan’s products.
Guaranteed US dollar Payments?
With Niquan’s success being heavily pegged on to intervention of the Government, citizens must be further concerned about our scarce FOREX as the Prime Minister confirmed to us on 12th March 2021 that Paria would be paying US dollars for Niquan’s products.
So while business owners and citizens struggle to obtain forex, some being forced to utilize black-market rates, NIQUAN would be guaranteed payment in US dollars.
Guaranteed Gas Supply?
Even the issue of the natural gas supply must be questioned going forward.
Will the government persist with its guaranteed supply of natural gas for Niquan going forward while Point Lisas struggles for gas amidst reports that upstreamers may not be producing the amount of gas as initially estimated while overall production hovers around a 15 year low?
Is Niquan really ready?
It is interesting that Caricris has based its rating on Niquan’s expectations of resuming operations in the second quarter of 2022.
Such assertions by Niquan are quite bewildering as with the second quarter set to start soon, the findings of the investigation into the explosion at Niquan are yet to be made public.
With the second quarter set to begin soon, there has been no public confirmation if Niquan has satisfied safety, environmental, industrial, or OSHA standards to legally resume operations in the manner that they have portrayed to Caricris.
Was this a case of Niquan trying to maintain its ratings by having Caricris believe it will restart operations soon or is Niquan actually in a position to resume its operations?
These questions become relevant as Caricris has further based its stable outlook on the company’s indication that they have satisfied 97 percent of the recommendations of the Independent Root Cause Analysis Report yet the population has never been made aware of such findings.
How can Niquan indicate that such work had been done when there has never been any public presentation on the issues discovered in this report or the areas that need to be addressed?
Once again, why no accountability to the people?
Such secrecy especially given the announcement of an investigation into the explosion by the Minister of Energy.
In the past, the Government has tried to dismiss the questions on Niquan using the excuse that it was a” private investment” when the reality is billions of tax dollars went into the construction of this plant before Niquan acquired it, so the population has the right to raise questions.
As a matter of fact, it is the World GTL debts from this very plant that burdened Petrotrin and catastrophically impacted the fenceline communities of Marabella and environs.
Niquan needs to have respect not only for the taxpayers but specifically fenceline residents of Marabella and environs who have been pleading to meet with them but have been consistently rejected.
– David Lee
Member of Parliament
Pointe a Pierre.