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Lanka Business Online – Sri Lanka: Indian and Dutch partners of Sri Lanka petroleum firms shrug off Tamil Tiger air raids

EXTRACT: Shell Gas Lanka Ltd, whose liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) unloading and storage terminal in Muturajawela, which was hit by bombs within minutes of the first attack, is part of Netherland’s Royal Dutch/Shell Group since 1995.
 
April 29, 2007 (LBO) – The Indian and Dutch partners of petroleum facilities targeted by Tamil Tigers, which are jointly owned with the government of Sri Lanka, are confident of resuming normal business as the damage is minimal, officials said.

The Tigers first hit a petroleum facility in Kolonnawa, a suburb of Colombo, which is jointly owned by Indian and Sri Lankan governments since 2002.

One of the bombs failed to explode, and the other fell on a tar tank which did not catch fire.

The fuel distribution facility is run by Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals Ltd (CPSTL), is 33 percent-owned by Lanka IOC, a unit of the Indian Oil Corporation, which is an enterprise of the government of India.

The rest is owned by Sri Lanka government’s Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC).

“It is a very bad thing, whether the company is owned by the Indian government or Sri Lanka,” Lanka IOC Managing Director K Ramakrishnan said.

“Fortunately nothing much happened and we will be operating without any disturbance.”

Lanka IOC owns a 33 percent stake in CPSTL, which was acquired from the Sri Lanka government when it entered the country’s oil business.

Shell Gas Lanka Ltd, whose liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) unloading and storage terminal in Muturajawela, which was hit by bombs within minutes of the first attack, is part of Netherland’s Royal Dutch/Shell Group since 1995.

Rimoe Saldin, finance director of Shell Gas Lanka, of which 49 percent is still held by the government of Sri Lanka said the company does not believe the attack was aimed at Shell’s gas terminal or that it would affect the multinational’s presence in the island.

“This is a new development. But we do not believe the attack was aimed at us,” Saldin told LBO.

“Shell always comes in for the long haul. The company is evaluating this situation.”

The Muturajawela terminal owned by Shell Terminals Lanka, is adjacent to a newly-built Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) oil storage complex, and is part of the same high security zone.

Its outer perimeter security is provided by government forces.

The Tamil Tigers claimed that they had hit two government oil storage facilities which were supplying the military.

Shell’s Saldin said there were no injuries to workers at the Muturajawela facility, north of the capital Colombo, from the one bomb that exploded at around 2.00 a.m.

“There was no damage to the gas storage tanks or pipelines,” Saldin told LBO.

“There was a minor fire which we contained in about an hour.”

The rebel air strike, using at least one light aircraft, caused some damage to fire water pumps and a fire engine at the facility.

Saldin said they do not anticipate any disruption of LPG supplies, with Sunday being a non-working day for distribution, and that the terminal was being checked.

Shell Gas Lanka’s has its bottling and distribution plant elsewhere, in Mabima.

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