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Lanka Indian Oil to market bitumen in Sri Lanka

By P. Karunakharan, IANS,

Colombo : Having made its presence felt in retail fuel marketing across Sri Lanka, the Lanka Indian Oil Corp (LIOC) has decided to market bitumen in the island nation from next April, a top company official here said.

LIOC managing director K. Ramakrishnan said his company was looking at expanding operations and bitumen marketing was an initiative in this direction.

“We already have the licence for bitumen marketing here. We have decided to import it and begin marketing from the beginning of our next financial year, April 2009,” Ramakrishnan told IANS Tuesday.

“Sri Lanka’s current demand is 6,000 tonnes per month and we are planning to import and market only 1,000 tonnes. It is only a very small volume,” he said.

Lanka IOC Ltd (LIOC) is Sri Lankan subsidiary of India’s leading oil marketing firm, the Indian Oil Corp, and is the only public oil company other than the Ceylon Petroleum Corp (CPC). It was incorporated to carry out retail marketing of petroleum products, bulk supply to industrial consumers, building and operating storage facilities at the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm.

The LIOC, which has 153 retail outlets throughout Sri Lanka, holds 19 percent of the market share in distributing fuel products. On an average, LIOC sells 15 million litres of petrol and 30 million litres of diesel in Sri Lanka, while the CPC sells nearly 45 million litres of petrol and 170 million litres of diesel per month.

In November last year, LIOC commissioned a $5-million lube oil blending plant with a capacity of 18,000 tonnes a year.

“We are doing pretty well, and blending around 300,000 litres of lubricants a month. We have much larger plans for the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm, which has 850 acres of land with a very good jetty nearby”, Ramakrishnan said.

“The production is good, operating standards are good, the plant is doing well. We are strengthening the Trincomalee operation in line with the economic policy of the government of Sri Lanka,” he added.