May 12, 2007
Colombo – The Sri Lankan unit of Royal Dutch Shell suffered damages of at least $700,000 in an air attack by Tamil Tiger rebels last month.
Two bombs exploded at the Anglo-Dutch company’s storage facility on the outskirts of Colombo, damaging one of its four storage terminals and disabling its fire-fighting operations, the company said.
“There was big damage to our fire-fighting facility and we estimate it will cost us in excess of $700,000 to put things back,” Shell’s Sri Lankan country director, Hassan Madani, told reporters here.
The damage caused by the attack, along with heavy monsoon rains, disrupted distribution of supplies for ten days, with some households running out of cooking gas in Colombo and its suburbs.
“Supplies are now being gradually restored,” Madani said.
The Tamil Tigers also dropped bombs at a nearby oil storage depot which is jointly owned by the Indian Oil Corp and Sri Lanka’s state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corp.
Though neither of the two companies that own the oil storage depot have announced the cost of the damage, officials at the site said that one of the bombs scored a direct hit and destroyed a storage tank holding heavy oil.
Shell acquired a 51 percent stake in the Colombo Gas Company when it was privatised in 1995.
At least 60,000 people have been killed in the island’s Tamil separatist conflict led by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam since 1972. – AFP