By Sandun A Jayasekera
Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay has assured Power, Energy and Transport Minister Mahinda Amaraweera of State level support to obtain some of the oil tanks at Trincomalee from the Indian Oil Company (IOC) to set up a bulk storage facility for fuel in Sri Lanka exploiting the sharp drop in the world market oil prices.
At his meeting with Mr. Baglay, the minister has highlighted Sri Lanka’s inability to maintain the bulk storage of fuel to exploit the declining oil prices in the global market because the British- built tank farm consisting of 100 tanks has been leased out to the IOC by the previous UNP government.
“I requested Mr. Baglay to help us obtain a few of the tanks from the IOC and received a positive response from him. He is of the view was that there needs to be an official-level dialogue between the two parties with the blessings of the Indian government because IOC is a private company,” he said.
The Daily Mirror meanwhile learnt that the agreement signed to develop 16 of the tanks in the under the yahapalana government as a joint venture between the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the IOC was not successful. In 2003, under the Ranil Wickremesinghe government, Lanka IOC, a subsidiary of India’s state-owned Indian Oil Corporation, acquired a one-third share in the Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals Ltd. which operates the China Bay tank farm and the CPC entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Lanka IOC granting a long-term lease to Lanka IOC to operate the 99 storage tanks, each with a capacity of 12,100 metric tons, at Trincomalee for 35 years at an annual fee of US$100,000.