Colombo, Jan 25 (IANS): Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) will supply fuel directly to the state-owned utility Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to ensure a continuous supply of electricity to the island nation.
Sri Lankan Energy Minister Gamini Lokuge announced on Tuesday that arrangements have been made to obtain fuel directly from Lanka IOC (LIOC), Indian Oil’s subsidiary in Sri Lanka, instead of having them go through the state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC).
“We prepared a loan to get fuel directly from the IOC,” Lokuge said. As a result, the CEB will receive 30,000 metric tons of fuel on credit from LIOC.
The decision was taken following a discussion with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Oil Minister Udaya Gammanpila who had previously refused to supply fuel to CEB of CPC, an entity under his ministry (of Gammanpila).
Last week, the two ministers were at loggerheads after the oil minister refused to supply fuel to the CEB. This led the Minister of Energy to request help from the LIOC to purchase fuel, but the LIOC also rejected the request stating that it had no additional fuel stocks to supply to the CEB.
Sri Lanka is facing one of the worst energy crises in its history, with no dollars to buy fuel.
On January 18, India extended a $500 million line of credit for urgent fuel importation as all oil stocks had dried up without dollars to import new fuels.
This followed $900 million in aid from New Delhi to the island nation which is facing a severe financial crisis. India is to aid Sri Lanka with a total of $2.4 billion to help the island nation recover from the dollar crisis and inflation.