India will help Sri Lanka develop its Trincomalee town as a regional petroleum hub, as IndianOil Corp and Ceylon Petroleum Corporation reached a joint-development, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday.
“Today, Lanka IOC and Ceylon Petroleum Corporation have agreed to jointly develop the Upper Tank Farm of the China Bay
Installation in Trincomalee on mutually agreed terms. A Joint Task Force will be constituted soon to work out the modalities. India stands ready to help Trincomalee become a regional petroleum hub,” Modi said after a meeting with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena in Colombo.
Lanka IOC, IndianOil’s subsidiary in Sri Lanka, is the only private oil company other than the state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) that operates about 150 retail petrol and diesel stations in the island nation. Its major facilities include an oil terminal at Trincomalee, Sri Lanka’s largest petroleum storage facility, an 18,000 tonnes per annum capacity lubricants blending plant, and a state-of-the-art fuels and lubricants testing laboratory at Trincomalee. Currently, it holds a market share of about 43.5 per cent.
Modi, who in the last leg of his three-nation tour, further said he was looking forward to ‘early commencement of work on the ground in the Sampur Coal Power Project’. “This landmark project would meet Sri Lanka’s energy needs,” he added.
Modi also announced a fresh Line of Credit of up to USD 318 million for the railways sector, which could be used to procure rolling stock, and to restore and upgrade the existing rail tracks.
He added that the ocean economy held ‘enormous promise’ for both the countries. “Our decision to set up a Joint Task Force on Ocean Economy is a significant step, especially because of our proximity,” he said.
Modi said that economic ties are a key pillar of the relationship between the two countries and their bilateral trade has grown impressively over the past decade. “Our trade has seen impressive growth over the past decade. The agreement today on cooperation between our customs authorities will simplify trade and reduce non-tariff barriers on both sides. We are not just looking at addressing problems. We are also focusing on new opportunities,” Modi added.