Mar 21, Colombo: Sri Lanka says it is considering to take back a petroleum storage tank complex in the Eastern Province port of Trincomalee given to the Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC) on a long lease.
Addressing the Cabinet media briefing today Cabinet Spokesman and Minister of Media Information Keheliya Rambukwella said the move is not by any means retaliation for India's vote against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC Thursday.
He said the LIOC is not currently using the tanks and there were provisions to take back tanks that were not being used by the LIOC.
"If they are not using these tanks, the CPC (state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation) wants to take them back and put them into good use. This is for the country," Rambukwella told AFP.
The Sri Lankan government has decided to regain control of the China Bay tank farm from LIOC with the intention of converting the petroleum storage tanks to a profitable venture with foreign investment.
LIOC chief Subodh Dakwale has told media that he was not aware of government plans to take back some of the tanks at the Trincomalee tank farm.
However, the government has been considering the intention to take back some of the tanks since December last year.
Indian officials have told AFP that they have been assured that a decision has not been made on the tanks yet.
The LIOC is has said that the company is spending $17 million to refurbish two tanks.
The China Bay petroleum storage tank complex was handed over to India's state-run Indian Oil Corporation in 2002 by the United National Party (UNP) government which was in power between 2002 and 2004. The government says that the hand over was not in line with the government standards.
The tank farm in 850 acres of land has 99 tanks each with the capacity to hold 12,100 metric tons of oil.