Maxed Out

Ceypetco unions suspended their lightening strike late Saturday following a Presidential assurance that petroleum assets will not be privatised before getting Cabinet approval. Minister K D Lal Kantha, who also heads the JVP’s Inter Company Union said that Finance Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama had conveyed President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s assurance that the asset sale will not go through until it is fully discussed at Cabinet level.

On Friday, over 5,000 employees attached to Ceylon Petroleum Corp.’s Kolonnawa terminal and its Colombo head office struck work to protest against the government plans to sell off a third of petroleum assets to India’s Bharat Petroleum.

Sri Lanka has a 64,000 barrel per day petroleum market that can support up to three players.

CPC and Lanka Indian Oil Corp. share the first two slots, but the sale of the third slot has got bogged down due to union pressures and a change of government.

The new government decided to sell only a management stake in a common user facility, plus 107 CPC owned fuel stations, 500 dealer-owned filling.

Under the new conditions, a 49 percent plus a management contract was on offer for three short li