Unipet, Paria reach fuel agreement

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.