India and Sri Lanka have, in principle, agreed to jointly operate the World War-era oil storage facility in Trincomalee, the strategically advantaged port town located on the island’s east coast, The Hindu newspaper reported.
“We are currently negotiating the specifics of the joint venture,” Sri Lanka’s Petroleum Minister Chandima Weerakkody told The Hindu. Both the nations are hoping to firm up the deal before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled second official visit to the island in early May.
Indian Oil Corporation subsidiary Lanka IOC, engaged in bunkering operations, runs 15 out of the 99 storage tanks in the lower oil tank farm in Trincomalee.
The proposed joint venture pertains to the remaining 84 tanks in the upper farm, but Sri Lanka would retain 10 of those for use by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and most of the tanks – built by the British during the World War years – are in good condition, he added.
During his visit to Sri Lanka in March 2015, Mr. Modi had said the project to develop the upper tank farm in Trincomalee would help the coastal town become a regional petroleum hub. (Colombo Gazette)