Shell Talks

July 06, 2010 (LBO) – A high powered Sri Lanka government committee tasked with buying back a controlling stake in a gas firm privatized to Shell, a petroleum firm, will meet Friday to decide on its future moves, a top official said. Shell Gas Lanka is the top liquefied petroleum gas (cooking gas) distributor in Sri Lanka but the firm is up for sale as part of a decision by Shell to exit the region.

Sri Lanka’s government had decided to repurchase a 51 percent stake in the firm held by Shell. The balance is still in government hands.

Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers appointed a committee of senior officials from the ministries of economic development, finance, petroleum and power to negotiate with Shell.

Sri Lanka’s petroleum ministry secretary Titus Jayewardene said the committee will meet on Friday to decide on the repurchase strategy.

The island’s second gas distributor, Laugfs, has also expressed interest in buying up the Shell stake.

Shell also built a storage terminal, which was originally intended to be a common user facility, when the government privatized gas distribution.

Sri Lanka’s state gas distribution monopoly, then known as Colombo Gas Company, was itself ‘nationalized’ from private ha