By:Staff WriterColombo (LNW): The government is scrambling to save the existing fuel stocks in the country due to the uncertainty of fuel and coal supplies in the world market as a result of the escalating war situation in Gaza and ever increasing price levels, finance ministry sources said.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe has also issued directives pertaining to the matter recently, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CEYPETCO) said, mentioning that it has been focusing on a better management system of currently prevailing fuel stocks in the country.
However, although no issues have currently arisen regarding the fuel stocks, the government has instructed the relevant authorities to prepare a plan in case of any crisis in the near future.
CEYPETCO further emphasized that since SINOPEC is also successfully carrying out retail operations in Sri Lanka, it will be able to maintain the fuel supply without any crisis in the future.
Nevertheless, if any crisis situation is created due to the impact of current global situation, the relevant fuel management methods will be announced after prior notification, according to the CEYPETCO.
But the coal importation is to become a challenging issue for the authorities as Sri Lanka’s current coal supply is only adequate till the end of October, a the power and energy ministry top official said adding that the island nation would need US$100 million to import more coal after the supply ran out.
In value terms, South Africa constituted the largest supplier of coal to Sri Lanka, comprising 68% of total imports. The second position in the ranking was held by Russia, with a 24% share of total imports.
Despite the west and south having heavy rainfall, the hydropower generation has increased during the last few days this month. Hydropower generation contributed 25% in August and it increased to 30% during September. In the last four days, it has reached 40%.
Therefore the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has to introduce a proper energy balance with available stocks of fuel and coal by operating coal and hydro power plants sparingly.
In fact, the last quarter of 2023 was an extremely challenging period for or us,” remarked the high official of the ministry pointing out that their primary challenge was to ensure round-the-clock electricity supply in a time when the nation’s economy was teetering on the brink.
The country will have to procure 2.5 million metric tons of coal necessary for the next year, he said.
Sri Lanka produces 40 percent of its electricity by burning coal. The always breakdown Norochcholai power plant is keeping 540 MW from the National Grid.
“We generate forty percent electricity with coal, and because the rains have filled the reservoirs, the rest we produce with hydro power,” he added.