Unipet and State-run Paria Fuel Trading Company have come to a compromise in their dispute over unpaid arrears on Unipet’s fuel supply.
In a press release, Paria said the parties had entered into a settlement agreement which resulted in the resumption of Unipet’s supply. Under the agreement, Unipet agreed to settle its debt to Paria and withdraw its High Court lawsuit and corresponding injunction application. Both parties will continue to work together to iron out a supply agreement. which will take effect in January.
Negotiations between the parties were revealed as Unipet’s injunction application to restore its fuel supply from Paria came up for hearing before Justice Avason Quinlan-Williams at the Hall of Justice in Port-of-Spain. Lawyers for both companies agreed to an adjournment as they claimed their clients were locked in talks to resolve the dispute.
“The government of the day really needs to come in and see what they can do speedily to alleviate the situation as it is. The Confederation will try as best as possible to see how we can make these two parties . . . I’m calling on the Minister of Finance, the government . . . how best we can resolve this situation once and for all,” said Couva/Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce President Ramchand Rajbal Maraj.
Kurt Hill, Unipet’s Chief Operating Officer, said the issue went beyond outstanding payments and had to do with other factors which affect the fuel industry. “The issue is around having a fair trading arrangement with the suppliers and promoting certain practices that are in the best interest of the country and we need to have agreement on that and move forward.”
Paria began supplying Unipet after State-owned Petrotrin was shut down late last year.
The dispute between the companies became public last week after Paria cut off Unipet’s supply over just over $100 million in arrears in fuel payments. The action effectively crippled Unipet’s operations and its 24 service stations were forced to close within days.