News

SJB files FR at SC against Yugadanavi

 

  • Challenges 40% govt. shares sale to US company
  • Requests interim order against LNG purchase from New Fortress Energy Inc.

BY Pamodi Waravita

The main parliamentary Opposition, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) yesterday (21) filed a fundamental rights (FR) petition in the Supreme Court (SC), requesting that the sale of the 40% of shares held by the Government of Sri Lanka at the Yugadanavi liquefied natural gas (LNG) Power Plant to the US-based energy company, New Fortress Energy Inc. be revoked.

The SJB petition further requested that any decision taken to procure LNG from New Fortress Energy Inc. be declared illegal, and to grant an interim order restraining the procurement of LNG from New Fortress Energy Inc. until the determination of the petition.

On 18 October, Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith and Ven. Elle Gunawansa Thera also filed an FR petition at the SC regarding the matter.

New Fortress Energy Inc. said that it has signed a framework agreement with the Government of Sri Lanka to construct a new offshore LNG receiving, storage, and regasification terminal, primarily located in the Kerawalapitiya Power Complex, to supply gas to Sri Lanka’s power plants. Thus, New Fortress Energy Inc. added that it has agreed to supply natural gas to the existing 300 megawatt (MW) Yugadanavi Power Plant and is negotiating the purchase of the Government’s 40% stake in the Yugadanavi Power Plant.

The Sunday Morning reported that objections to the deal were raised by three cabinet ministers, who had stated that the deal would monopolise the LNG supply and further reported that the Treasury is due to earn approximately $ 300 million as a result of this transaction.

Although the leaders of 11 pro-Government parties have requested a meeting with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to discuss the renegotiation of the said sale agreement, media reports on 18 October showed that the President has rejected this request.

Earlier, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)-led National People’s Power (NPP) Leader and Parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake demanded that the Government explain why New Fortress Energy Inc. was given the Treasury’s 40% stake in the Yugadanavi Power Station outside of the open tender process that was called by the Government in February of this year and why the agreement with New Fortress was signed past midnight on the morning of 17 September.

Allegations levelled against the deal claim that the long-term loss to Sri Lanka through the deal is around $ 6 billion and also cite threats to the country’s energy security.