Sri Lanka seeks energy security after oil strike

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will focus on energy security after the latest petroleum workers strike exposed the country’s vulnerability when the main oil storage facility is crippled, the Prime Minister said.

Ranil Wickremesinghe said the cabinet of ministers will examine options and examine the question of both the state Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and the private Lanka IOC sharing the same storage facility.

"This was done at the time (in 2003/4) to save costs," the Prime Minister told reporters at the Central bank of Sri Lanka on Friday.

"As far as energy security is concerned, we did have (stocks) for a few days, even on the Lanka IOC stocks, and we will be building more. The cabinet will be looking at an energy security plan for this type of event."

Lanka IOC has a smaller storage facility at Trincomalee, but it costs more to bring supplies from there to supply areas outside the north-east.

CPC workers launched an indefinite strike on Wednesday affecting supplies of both the Lanka IOC and the CPC.  However, the strike came to an abrupt end after the government invoked an essential services order to outlaw work stoppages and ordered troops to restore supplies.

Finance State minister Eran Wickramaratne told parliament Thursday that it was the motorcyclists, trishaw drivers and small car and van owners who suffered most due to the fuel shortages on Tuesday night and Wednesday.

The minister said the strike was politically motivated and the government was ready to respond politically to trade union action aimed at furthering the political agenda of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. (COLOMBO, July 28, 2017)

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