Gas Bid

June 17, 2010 (LBO) – The Sri Lankan government wants to buy back the stake in the Shell Gas unit in the island that had been sold to the multinational in a privatization exercise several years ago, a spokesman said. The state-run Bank of Ceylon has been made an advisor to a committee that will negotiate with the Shell multinational, media minister Keheliya Rambukkwella told a news conference.

He said the administration of president Mahinda Rjapaksa had promised to stop privatization of state entities.

“We will use every opportunity to buy back assets that were sold,” he said.

Representatives from Sri Lanka’s ministries for finance, economic development, petroleum and power energy will in the committee.

Royal Dutch Shell owns a 51 percent stake in Shell Gas Lanka, the dominant supplier of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in the island, with the government owning the rest.

Shell has said it is in talks with possible buyers after taking a decision to exit gas distribution in Asia.

Shell bought the then government own Colombo Gas Company, which itself was a ‘nationalized’ private firm at a time when it there were chronic shortages of gas and new cylinders were not freely available and price