IOC to pump fuel directly to Lanka’s electricity supplier

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Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) will provide fuel directly to state-run electricity provider Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to ensure continuous power supply in the island nation.

Sri Lanka Energy Minister Gamini Lokuge announced on Tuesday that arrangements have been made to obtain fuel directly from the Lanka IOC (LIOC), Indian Oil’s subsidiary in Sri Lanka, instead of getting them through the state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC).

“We have prepared a loan to directly obtain fuel from the IOC,” said Lokuge. Accordingly, the CEB is to receive 30,000 metric tonnes of fuel on credit basis from LIOC.

The decision has been reached following a discussion with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Minister of Petroleum, Udaya Gammanpila, who had earlier refused to provide fuel to the CEB from CPC, an entity under his (Gammanpila’s) ministry.

Last week, the two ministers were at loggerheads after the Petroleum Minister refused to supply fuel to the CEB. This led the Energy Minister to seek the assistance of LIOC to purchase fuel, but the LIOC too had turned down the request stating that it did not have additional fuel stocks to supply to the CEB.

Sri Lanka is facing one of its worst-ever power crisis with no dollars to buy fuel.

On January 18, India had extended a $500 million line of credit for urgent import of fuel as all oil stocks had dried up with no dollars to import new fuel.

This was following New Delhi’s $900 million relief given to the island nation which is facing a dire financial crisis. India is to assist Sri Lanka with a total of $2.4 billion to help the island nation recover from the dollar crunch and inflation.

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