Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila said talks were underway with India to retake some of the oil tanks in Trincomalee leased out to them.
Sri Lanka leased out 99 tanks to Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC) in an agreement in 2003 on a 35-year-lease. The Indian company has refurbished 15 of them in the Lower Tank Farm, which are now in use.
In an interview with Daily Mirror, Minister Gammanpila said there were 99 tanks in the Oil Tank Farm, and Sri Lanka had an energy security issue due to inadequate storage capacity.
“We have already commenced negotiations with India to take back some of the oil tanks leased out from the oil tank farm in Trincomalee. They have been leased out since 2003. I am confident that India would be flexible and understand that Sri Lanka should place Sri Lanka first,” he said.
The previous government signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation of Economic Projects and decided to set up a joint venture between the Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC) and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC).
According to this agreement signed in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in 2017, India has agreed to the Sri Lankan proposal to refurbish and use the 84 giant oil tanks in the Upper Tank Farm as a “Joint Venture”
The then Sri Lankan government proposed the idea of developing and running the tanks as a Joint Venture in 2016 to store fuel for power generation in an emergency situation. (Kelum Bandara)