Saturday, 14 December 2019 09:59

President backs foreign investment for power projects

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President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has instructed the Power and Energy Ministry to look into attracting foreign investment to fast-track long-delayed projects and follow proper procurement procedures, a statement from the President’s Media said yesterday.

A meeting between President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and senior officials of the Ministry of Power and Energy and institutions under its purview was held at the Presidential Secretariat on Thursday.

Representatives from the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority participated in this meeting, during which attention was drawn to providing swift solutions to the issues prevailing in these entities. The upcoming new projects in the power and energy sector were also discussed.

The President pointed out the importance of properly conducting feasibility studies before the commencement of these projects.

“During the meeting, the proposals made in relation to the power and energy sector in the ‘Saubhagye Dekma’ policy statement were discussed and the ministry officials extended their fullest co-operation in this regard,” the statement said.

“President Rajapaksa also highlighted the importance of attracting investors for new projects through appraising foreign countries on the policies of the Sri Lankan Government in order to meet the increasing demand for electricity in the country, as well as following proper procurement procedures.”

During the meeting, it was revealed that even though many MoUs were signed with foreign countries, many of these agreements are with private companies and not with states. Therefore, the President pointed out the importance of conducting a proper study when implementing these agreements to ensure there would be no any adverse impact to the country, it added.

Minister of Power and Energy Mahinda Amaraweera, State Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Secretary to the President Dr. P. B. Jayasundara and Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy Wasantha Perera took part in this meeting.

The Power and Energy Ministry has already started a review process of the proposed Kerawalapitiya LNG power plant, which was given Cabinet approval earlier this year. During an earlier meeting, Amaraweera had called for reports on the project to be reviewed and subsequently decided to take up issues in the power sector with the President.

In February, the Cabinet gave approval for the Consortium of GCL China Windforce and RenewGen to set up a 300 MW LNG power plant in Kerawalapitiya. It was to be one of two LNG power plants approved through a Cabinet paper presented by former Power and Energy Minister Ravi Karunanayake.

They were to be the first plant to be constructed after the Lakvijaya Coal Plant in Norochcholai was completed almost a decade ago. The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has not been able to commission any new power plants included in their Long Term Generation plants since 2013.

New petroleum projects in pipeline next year

Minister considers building new pipeline from Colombo Port to CPC storage
Plans increase of buffer stock to 2 months with new fuel storage tanks
Considers transport by train and import of new train engine if necessary

The Government is planning to implement a range of new projects next year in the petroleum sector involving the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), including building a new pipeline from Colombo Port and increasing the fuel buffer stock from the current two weeks to one month.

During a meeting held at CPC, Power and Energy Minister Mahinda Amaraweera discussed with CPC officials on how to improve the capacity of the State entity to provide better service to the public.

Accordingly, Amaraweera discussed the building of a new pipeline from Colombo Port to CPC central storage facility to reduce fuel transportation time.

Issuing a statement, the Power and Energy Ministry said Amaraweera had discussed plans with officials to build new storage tanks to increase fuel buffer stock capacity up to one month from the current two weeks. Amaraweera had also highlighted the importance of improving storage capacity of provincial fuel distribution points to meet increasing demand.

Amaraweera had acknowledged the possibility of distributing more fuel by train to areas out of the Western Province as a cost effective method and as solution to reduce traffic congestion. Expressing the importance of improving of fuel distribution, Amaraweera said if it was necessary, importing a train engine for CPC usage could be considered.

The Minister had also pointed out the importance of increasing CPC profits as per President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s pledges to restructure State institutions as profit-making entities.

The previous administration also discussed taking measures to transport fuel by trains as a cost effective method and 10 railway container carrier wagons and five fuel transport containers were imported in May this year to improve fuel transportation.

(FT)

 

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