Minister of Power and Energy, Kanchana Wijesekera said, he will be submitting a Cabinet Paper seeking approval to allow other fuel distribution companies, based in other countries, to open their own filling centres, similar to what Lanka IOC is doing.
He said, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) cannot on its own handle the fuel distribution across the country, because it is a difficult task. He highlighted that because they have discovered that distributing and importing fuel is difficult, they have requested that the Lanka IOC release 1,000 Metric Tons of fuel on a daily basis.
“Lanka IOC releases 300 Metric Tons of fuel on a daily basis,. However, they informed us that there is a fuel reserve of 10,000 Metric Tonnes, and we urged them to increase their releasing capacity,” he said.
He pointed out that other fuel distribution companies, from other countries, should be given the opportunity to open petrol filling stations in Sri Lanka, because the fuel distribution oligopoly in Sri Lanka has resulted in the present fuel crisis. “However, the only condition we have is that they do not open Letters of Credit (LCs) and import fuel on a credit line, so that the burden of USD reserves does not affect the country,” he said.
He added that the documents for the Cabinet Paper are being prepared.
Sri Lanka has made contact with several companies, suggested by the Russian Embassy in Colombo, to buy crude, according to Wijesekera, as efforts are made to obtain oil on credit in order to keep the country’s sole refinery operational.
“I have received responses from the Russian companies recommended by the Russian Ambassador. The Russian Ambassador has asked me to send the companies’ responses and he will also intervene in the process. We have also sent the message to Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Russia, Janitha Liyanage,” he added.
However, the process is lengthy.
BY Thameenah Razeek