By Chathuri Dissanayake
Cabinet this week gave its assent to the Ceylon Petroleum Cooperation to award the contract for the much-discussed fuel storage tank needed to increase storage facilities to 30 days.
The bid to construct the tank, designed to store 15,000 m3 of fuel with an internal floating roof costing Rs. 412.78 million, will be awarded to Indi East Engineering and Construction (Lanka) Ltd. after receiving Cabinet approval this week.
The CPC needs to up its capacity to store 100,000 MT of fuel in order to ensure the country has buffer stocks to meet demand for 30 days, Petroleum Resource Minister Arjuna Ranatunga informed Cabinet while proposing to award the contract.
The Cabinet-appointed subcommittee, appointed to find solutions to the recent fuel shortage the country faced two weeks ago, also recommended improving the storage facilities of the CPC to avoid similar situations in the future. It was noted that CPC officials had neglected improving the storage capacity of the institution despite the need to improve current facilities.
At present the CPC can only store adequate fuel to meet demand for three weeks. Despite Cabinet approval being granted by the previous Government to construct similar storage facilities, the project never got off the ground, Ranatunga said on an earlier occasion, explaining the reasons for the recent shortage.
The CPC also received approval to award the contract to construct a fuel hydrant system and improve aviation fuel terminal facilities at the Bandaranaike International Airport in a joint venture between WEC Engineers and Constructers Ltd, Singapore, PT Wijeya Koraya (Persero) Tbk and China National Chemical Engineering at a cost of $ 51.5 million, exclusive of taxes.
The Minister also signed a collective agreement with CPC worker unions to remove the pay gap among grades, institute a salary increment and increase executive allowances and security allowances to be compatible with the salary increment.
The higher management of the CPC and the members of the trade unions signed the agreement before Minister Ranatunga at the conference hall of the CPC. CPC Managing Director Prof. Prasanna Perera signed on behalf of the CPC while the Freedom Employees Union, General Employees Union, National Employees Union, Petroleum Industry Service Union, Engineers Union, Islandwide Petroleum Industry Service Union and Management Union signed on behalf of the unions.