Sol monopoly?

Economist concerned about new oil deal

 Local economist Jeremy Stephen is calling on Government to disclose how it plans to protect consumers once the planned sale of the country’s sole oil terminal to a single private entity becomes a reality.

The state-run Barbados National Oil Company Limited (BNOCL) last week confirmed an agreement had been reached with the Sir Kyffin Simpson-led Sol Group for the sale of its subsidiary, the Barbados National Terminal Company Limited (BNTCL).

However in a live Facebook broadcast on Saturday, Stephen expressed fears that without proper regulations the market could be exposed to manipulation of volumes.

“The BNTCL, outside of Light and Power, is the only place that could store oil and gas and jet fuel. That is essentially the value of what is paid for. Also it is the main distributor of oil on the island . . . . It is now clear, based on Rubis’ objection, that they are not participating in the said deal. How can we not say, without more terms being brought to the table, that Sol now has monopoly over the storage and distribution of fuel oil?

“The most significant input in our daily lives is oil. Will Government show the political will through an Act of Parliament to grant BNOC regulatory powers over a couple of things that Sol can now do? Sol is a business first and foremost and as such can effectively decide that in anticipation of oil prices increasing in the future, create an intentional shortage because in Barbados they don’t really allow the use of hedging,” Stephen said.

He made reference to the decision by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1973 to cease oil exports to the United States for six month. The effect was the quadrupling of oil prices.

Stephen contended that acquisition of BNTCL would mean that the Sol-Group had the means to price its competition out of the market.

“They can easily price [their competition] out of the market. They can effectively sell the price to their competition at a price higher than what they could attain. In addition they would be getting their oil at a cheaper cost than Rubis to begin with. They could also create intentional shortages to said people,” Stephen stated.

Chief Executive Officer of Rubis Caribbean Mauricio Nicholls had released a statement last Thursday describing the sale as the “creation of a private monopoly that would control all storage and importation of fuels in the country”.

Nicholls said Rubis had already raised objection with the Fair Trading Commission (FTC), as well as with the Ministry of Energy, but no response had been received from either Government entity.

“Rubis expects the FTC to conduct a full and detailed review of the transaction and that the FTC will object to it due to the effects it would have on the competition and the significant impact it could have on fuel prices,” the Rubis CEO had said.

9 Responses to Sol monopoly?

  1. Don Keyote January 17, 2017 at 8:42 am

    “Rubis expects the FTC to conduct a full and detailed review of the transaction and that the FTC will object to it due to the effects it would have on the competition and the significant impact it could have on fuel prices,” the Rubis CEO had said.

    Our ass, then, is grass. Don’t expect the FTC, which, like the Governor of the Central Bank, is a creature of the Government, to make any ruling that would frustrate Government’s dire need for foreign exchange?

    And does he really expect any response from the FTC or Ministry of Energy to his objection?

    Goodbye Rubis. Hello higher cost of living. Say something, somebody!!! Where is the Opposition???

  2. Peter January 17, 2017 at 9:48 am

    Face it. Rubis is a franchise run by Massey which has full command of the BS&T entity. They are Trinidasd owned and, given the current economic climate there, every which way will be tapped into to own and control offshore finances outside of Trinidad. Barbados has the strongest dollar and shrewd TNT businessmen knows this. Therefore, well knowing how Barbados is fighting to sustain is rate coupled with the fact that the DLP is very weak an growingly and knowingly unpopular, they will attempt to pull a Putin on the next election and Kick DEM out to protect the BD’os Dollar. I have a Massey card. Spent over $ 7500.00 over the passed Christmas holidays. Not to mention the countless guests who spent thousands of dollars when I took them to Massey supermarket to shop, They used my card as they did not have because they don’t live here, and to which both the store manager and the Massey card representative expressed confirmation. Well Just a check for argument’s sake, NOT ONE CENT in credit was posted to my account. I certainly declare that this Massey Card points system is a farce, a rip off and a piossible scam which the FTC needs to look at. In Barbados, Massah day done, but MASSEY DAY COME.

    • philip January 17, 2017 at 9:04 pm

      Rubis is french tho!

  3. Alex Alleyne January 17, 2017 at 11:22 am

    If you want an answer , go speak directly to Minister Innis, he will be the new boss coming soon.

  4. maryk January 17, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Christianity and greed are not supposed to go hand in hand.

  5. Sam Clarke January 17, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    This is a monopoly, by all definitions. One company controlling storage and distribution. What is needed is for the government to show us the documents and be transparent about it.
    This closed door operation is not in the best interest of the people of Barbados, and it must stop.
    Barbados is living up to the image of a banana republic, under this current administration.

  6. Gearbox1964 January 17, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    Another bigfoot exclusive move by this Administration which has no respect or regard for the taxpayers who voted DEM into office.

  7. Jennifer January 17, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    What an illusion for the blind or pretend blind – Massah day has never been done. Same $h** different toilet. This reminds me of (so called) post slavery when blacks were given land to SUSTAIN THEMSELVES AND FAMILIES and the majority of these nitwits took the land and sold it back to their massah, mis spent the money and then continued to work for that old massah and bought his goods. WHAT A PHENOMENON. I thought we got educated, guess not the right way, as the servant mentality still lingers.

  8. Rhbb January 19, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Rubis object because it would create a monopoly, but Rubis itself was the other bidder to purchase the facility. If they had won the bid, would they have objected to their own monopoly?


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