In the midst of the ongoing fuel crisis, the Sri Lankan Cabinet has approved a plan to liberalise the fuel imports and marketing operations, Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said on June 28.
Sri Lanka’s unprecedented economic crisis caused by forex shortages has led to a severe crisis in the energy sector. Fuel shortages have seen long queues at retailers and with the end of the credit line worth USD 700 million granted by India, the pumps have run dry.
The Sri Lankan government is now exploring options to purchase discounted oil from Russia, as the island nation desperately looks to replenish its dwindling fuel stocks amid an unprecedented economic crisis due to a crippling shortage of foreign exchange reserves.
"Cabinet approval was granted to open up the fuel import and retail sales market to companies from oil-producing nations," Wijesekera tweeted on June 28.
The selection would be based on the ability to import without forex requirements from the Sri Lankan central bank, he added. The state fuel entity Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) would act as the service provider for logistics stocking and distribution.
He added that the 1,190 retail outlets of CPC would be given to the Indian Oil Company’s local operation LIOC and other selected companies. The LIOC already operates over 200 retail stations with a 16 per cent market share.
Wijesekera’s statement came as the island nation came to a standstill with the non-availability of fuel. He left for Qatar last night to discuss possible arrangements for fuel purchases.
Sri Lanka’s pumps went dry due to the non-arrival of a ship which was due to come on June 24. The government announced last night that till July 10 the limited stocks would be made available only to essential services.
On Sunday, petrol price was hiked by LKR 50 and diesel by LKR 60 respectively, the third price revision in just over two months.The move was necessitated after state-owned refinery Ceylon Petroleum Corporation informed the Sri Lankan government on Saturday that there would be a delay in the arrival of fuel shipments due to banking and logistical reasons.