PORT OF SPAIN –– Petrotrin has begun an investigation to determine the cause of the explosion that destroyed several vehicles and caused damage at Lease Operators Limited’s facility in Palo Seco last Friday.
In a statement on Monday, Petrotrin said that the explosion and fire occurred at a Lease Operatorship Gathering Station in Block WD-1 which is operated by Lease Operators Limited, a Petrotrin Production Alliance partner.
“In keeping with established standards for the performance of all operators and our commitment to maintaining safe operations and protecting the community, Petrotrin has established an investigating team which has been tasked to identify the cause of the incident and to make recommendations to prevent future occurrences” Petrotrin stated.
However, residents of Palo Seco say they have been left in the dark regarding the investigation into last Friday’s oil tanker explosion which left one person injured.
Spokesperson for the residents and founder of the community activist group, People for Progress, Victor Roberts said no one had contacted the residents to give an explanation for the explosion. Neither has there been anyone willing to have any evacuation and fire drills to prevent a catastrophe from occurring, he said.
The explosion occurred at around 5 p.m. and reportedly originated in an oil tanker which was parked on the compound of Lease Operators Limited at Los Charos Road, Palo Seco.
The vehicle was parked close to three large storage tanks containing the crude product. A nearby drain also caught fire destroying a panel van and car parked outside the compound.
Roberts said residents are concerned that there is no emergency Centre or warning alarms for residents in the event of an emergency.
“This is a prime place for production works and there is always oil in the drains and yet Petrotrin and others would not have proper measures in place to secure residents. OSHA only comes when something occurs. There was no communication with residents and management, so what happens another time there is a more serious event”, said Roberts.
He said the explosion was not the first time such an event occurred in the area which created panic among residents. And very little was done to assist those residents who were affected, he said.
Roberts said: “Up till now we don’t know what cause the fire. Was it someone who was smoking or was it poor vehicle maintenance, we don’t know. The residents are part of the community too and they should communicate with them”.
He said the activist group intends to write to Petrotrin and its farm out associates to have a meeting.