Approximately 80 NiQuan employees terminated

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Approximately 80 NiQuan employees terminated

NiQuan Energy Trinidad Ltd is set to terminate the employment of approximately 80 workers at the end of the month.

According to reports, the company’s founder, Ainsley Gill, informed staff members yesterday that expected funding will not materialise as planned, leading to the mothballing of the gas-to-li­quids plant.

In a letter to staff, Gill said: “During these last few months, the Company has been preserving the Plant in a wet layup in anticipation of an amicable solution and the return of gas. However, following the disproportionate curtailment of gas supply suffered by the Company, followed by the wrongful termination of the Gas Supply Contract (GSC), it is with disappointment and frustration that the Company has no other alternative but to now place the plant into a dry layup and, mothballed status.”

Gill said as a direct consequence of those difficulties, it was with “deep regret” that NiQuan’s senior secured mortgage holders have been unable to fund the company as was “reasonably expected”.

“And as a further direct consequence, the company is now unable to continue to preserve the GTL Plant,” Gill said.

“Further, it is likely that a winding up order will be made by the High Court pursuant to a winding up petition brought against the company by two unsecured creditors. The next hearing before the Court is scheduled for May 3, 2024,” he said.

NiQuan’s former vice-­president, David Small, was awarded $18.8 million for breach of a written mutual separation agreement dated November 2, 2021, along with exemplary damages on September 29 last year.

However, Small, a former independent senator, has not yet been paid.

He also filed a petition in the High Court calling for the winding up of NiQuan, in an effort to recover the money owed to him by the company.

Since the matter was brought before the High Court, Republic Bank Ltd, the Junior Sammy Group, JMMB and at least five other companies have stepped forward, claiming they too are owed money by the company.

Gill said that as a result of this pending appointment of a liquidator by the court, NiQuan is now unable to extend the current extended furlough that staff members were placed on.

“Therefore at 5 p.m. on April 30, 2024, your Contract of Employment will be terminated, and the Company will issue individual formal termination letters,” the letter stated.

“This is a very unfortunate outcome; one the Company did not wish to occur,” he added.

NiQuan’s gas-to-liquids plant was placed in “Asset Preserving Silent Mode” last September due to a lack of natural gas, and financial constraints.