ATLANTIC LNG (Atlantic) has confirmed that it is laying off staff and has already offered all employees voluntary separation of employment packages (VSEP) to go home over the next two months.
The VSEP comes as the company has moved from operating four LNG Trains to three, and even with three, its president, Ronald Adams, recently admitted that it is only getting enough natural gas to meet 70 per cent of the capacity of the reduced number of Trains. It also continues a trend in the local energy sector of retrenchment of staff.
In response to questions from Sunday Business, the company did not say how many workers would be asked to leave but noted a further review would be conducted with the possibility that if it did not get enough numbers accepting its offer, some may have to be cut.
Atlantic said, “As recent global events have demonstrated, the LNG industry is dynamic. To keep pace with peers internationally and ensure that Atlantic achieves its goal of sustaining world-class LNG operations to the benefit of Trinidad and Tobago, a comprehensive revision of the company’s corporate strategy was undertaken in 2022, which is now well into implementation. This necessitated a review of the organisational structure to ensure alignment to the refreshed strategy.”
The LNG company told Sunday Business while a review of resourcing for the revised organisational structure is ongoing, permanent staff have been offered the opportunity to voluntarily express interest in separating from the organisation.
“Following completion of the voluntary separation process by the end of April 2023, it will then be determined whether the revised structure necessitates any further impact on resources. It is anticipated that the impact, if any, will be minimal,” Atlantic concluded. Sunday Business was told that the VSEP packages that were being offered by Atlantic closed recently and many of the operations staff applied to leave.
Atlantic is one of the world’s largest producers of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and it is owned by the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago (NGC Trinidad and Tobago), Shell, BP, and the Chinese Investment Corporation (CIC).
Just last December, Energy Minister Stuart Young announced that the Government had reached an agreement with Atlantic’s shareholders on substantive commercial terms for the revised structure of the Atlantic LNG venture. This followed the signing of a Heads of Agreement in January 2022.
According to Young, this was the culmination of discussions that the Government initiated, in 2018, with the major Atlantic shareholders, following which, the parties agreed that the Atlantic facilities and its complex shareholder structure and commercial agreements needed to be simplified.
At that time, Young said, the Goverment and Atlantic shareholders (inclusive of companies affiliated with BP Trinidad and Tobago, Shell Trinidad, and Tobago Limited, and The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited), have agreed on a restructured ownership and commercial framework to see the Atlantic business operations consolidated into a single entity.
In the revised structure, Young said NGC increased its equity share in Atlantic, consistent with the commitment by the Government to maximise value to the country from the sale of hydrocarbon resources and the new construction will also facilitate a market-reflective pricing mechanism that provides fair value from the sale of LNG for both the country and the shareholders.