Sri Lankan engineers warn against open-ended LNG imports in proposed policy

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan engineers have warned against open-ended liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports implied in a proposed government natural gas policy, saying it could delay development of newly-found offshore hydrocarbon deposits.

Shavi Fernando, head of the energy sector committee of the Institution of Engineers of Sri Lanka (IESL), was critical of references to LNG imports during a public forum on the new draft policy held by the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka, the energy regulator. 

References to relying on LNG imports until domestic natural gas deposits were exploited were too vague, he said.

The government’s draft natural gas policy says “development of indigenous resources of natural gas into a commercially viable source of energy supply may take some years to become a reality. Hence, the country has to depend on imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) to start with at least in the short run.”

Fernando, a former general manager of the Ceylon Electricity Board state power utility,  asked: “How can a policy document contain statements such as ‘some years’ which is very vague?”

IESL finds the statement “totally unacceptable and unprofessional in this policy,” Fernando said.

“Is this policy document trying to deviate from the main purpose of using domestic gas resources and trying to promote import of LNG?”

Fernando said the IESL supports introducing natural gas into the island’s energy mix and believes it has strong potential.

But he said IESL cannot agree with LNG imports without any reference to a time frame and suggests either complete removal of the reference to imports or to suitably amend it.
(COLOMBO, March 28, 2019-SB)
 

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