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New oil tank farm in Hambantota: CPC commences construction

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Parallel to the ongoing discussions with India to secure 25 oil storage tanks in Trincomalee, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has taken steps to build a new oil tank farm in Hambantota, The Morning learnt.

Minister of Power and Energy Mahinda Amaraweera said the CPC is currently looking for suitable land to build the new fuel tank complex in Hambantota.

He told The Morning that in parallel, discussions were also being held to secure at least 25 storage tanks from the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm with the Indian Government and the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).

The Ministry of Power and Energy, through the Ministry of Foreign Relations, had sought the intervention of the Government of India to take back 25 tanks in China Bay.

As learnt by The Morning, a cabinet paper had been submitted seeking the approval to enter into an agreement with IOC to get back 25 tanks at the China Bay Oil Tank Farm, for which the IOC had unofficially disagreed.

Meanwhile, UNP-affiliated Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS) President of the CPC Branch Ananda Palitha said that during the tenure of the previous Government, there was an attempt to lease out China Bay Tank Farm. It has now been given on lease to IOC with their consent last year, keeping 15 tanks to the CPC, for which the then Opposition had opposed and the CPC had lost the capacity. If the government had gone ahead with the agreement, the tanks could now be used for storage.

However, as the CPC unions claimed, if the CPC had the ownership over the tank farm, it could have purchased fuel at lower rates early this year and stored it at the tank farm.