News

Kanchana to Qatar today in search of fuel

  • Announces that Kuwait has also responded positively
  • Two Ministers to fly to Russia for fuel talks

Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera is due to leave for Qatar today (27), as Sri Lanka faces its most severe fuel shortage of the year so far. 

“Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has extended an invitation to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for a delegation from Sri Lanka. We hope to discuss many issues, including fuel and migrant workers. The Board of Investment will also join us,” said Wijesekera at a media briefing held yesterday (26). 

Wijesekera said that Kuwait has also responded positively to Sri Lanka and that discussions are ongoing with other countries as well, so further travels will happen “when necessary”. 

He added that two Ministers are also due to visit Russia, where fuel imports will be discussed. 

Meanwhile, a delegation from the US Treasury Department is in Sri Lanka for a country visit. 

Sri Lanka was heavily dependent on Indian credit lines, totalling $ 700 million, for fuel imports over the last few months. However, the last shipment of 40,000 metric tonnes (MT) of diesel through the Indian credit line reached Sri Lanka on 16 June, and now the immediate future looks bleak for the country’s energy sector, even as the Cabinet last month approved a proposal to obtain another $ 500 million credit line from India. 

Commenting on the second credit line that Sri Lanka is expecting from India for fuel imports, Wijesekera said that the country is facing technical questions from India’s EXIM Bank. 

“They are asking us how we will pay back the money we receive from them. They have already given $ 700 million for the import of fuel this year and those repayments are due to start in March 2023. We expected this next credit line to be finalised by June at least, but discussions are still ongoing,” explained Wijesekera. 

An Indian delegation arrived in Sri Lanka for a one-day visit last week. Reports claim that the Indian officials had handed a “wish list” to Sri Lanka, with their expectations about expediting a number of projects in the Northern Province in which they had made investments in.