Govt. mulling reclamation of oil tanks in Trincomalee oil farm

Govt. mulling reclamation of oil tanks in Trincomalee oil farm

Govt. mulling reclamation of oil tanks in Trincomalee oil farm

Written by Staff Writer

04 Jun, 2020 | 10:53 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): The government is mulling moves to reclaim oil tanks at the Trincomalee oil farm which is under the Indian Oil Corporation, officials said.

Power and energy minister Mahinda Amaraweera had held talks with newly appointed High Commissioner to India Gopal Bagley regarding the possibility of reclaiming a minimum of 25 storage tanks, according to newspaper reports.

“…the storage capacity of the Trincomalee Complex is 1 million tonnes. We request the Government, for the betterment of the entire nation, make an active effort to obtain this complex,” Bandula Saman Kumara, the Chairman of the Progressive Workers’ Society said.

He added that the complex was leased out to India and that only 15 tanks at the farm are being utilised at present by the Lanka IOC.

The Trincomalee Harbour is one of the deepest natural harbours in the world. It was developed by the British during World War II.

The oil tanks built by the British in 1944 contains 101 oil tanks out of which 99 are in a usable state.

The first time India reached an agreement about the Trincomalee Petroleum Farm was in 1987 after signing the Indo – Sri Lanka Pact.

According to one appendix of the agreement, the revival of the Trincomalee Oil Storage Farm and restarting its operations must be implemented by both Sri Lanka and India through a joint venture.

In an agreement reached between the two countries to commence operations of the oil farm in 2003, the Indian Oil Corporation gained the ownership of oil tanks of the farm.

However, all efforts by Sri Lanka to gain back these tanks were proven futile over the years.

Former Minister of Petroleum Chandima Weerakkody presented a cabinet paper in 2017 to gain back 15 oil tanks from the farm.

Former Minister Arjuna Ranatunga who was the subject minister in 2018 gained approval from the cabinet to commence a joint venture. However, that too was not initiated.

The COPE commission highlighted that the agreement signed to hand over the Oil Storage Complex in Trincomalee to IOC was invalid. It made a recommendation to the Petroleum Corporation to regain control over the Oil Storage Complex.

According to the COPE Committee, the MoU signed with the Indian Oil Company in 2003 states that a legal transfer of oil tanks should be done within six months but it has not been done.

Petroleum Trade Unions have filed a case with the Supreme Court stating that the fundamental rights of the people of this country have been violated by providing the complex in question for the use of the IOC.



Posted by on Thursday, June 4, 2020

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