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LNG project: China-Pakistan company out, India in



The Government has decided to cancel a tender awarded to a China-Pakistan consortium to supply Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and lay a pipeline network after being selected through an international open competitive bidding process and instead consider an offer by an Indian company.

The China-Pakistan Engro Consortium was selected last year as part of a step towards reducing the cost of power production.

However, last Monday, Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera submitted a Cabinet paper titled “Revisiting the National Energy Policy Related to the Development of Natural Gas Infrastructure in the Country,” to suspend the ongoing LNG procurement process.

Accordingly, the suspension covers the Development of a Floating Storage and Re-gasification Unit (FSRU) off Kerawalapitiya on a Build, Own, and Operate basis and a compatible mooring system on Build, Own, Operate and Transfer basis. It also covers the associated projects – the development of Offshore and Onshore Re-gasification Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) Transmission Pipeline Network with an Onshore Receiving Facility (ORF) and an associated System from the Floating Storage and Re-gasification Unit (FSRU) to existing and future Kerawalapitiya and Kelanitissa Power Plants on Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) basis.

After following the proper tender process, the Cabinet-Appointed Negotiating Committee (CANC) in August last year granted approval to award the tender to the Engro Consortium.

Accordingly, although the Power and Energy Ministry had to submit a cabinet paper to enable the tender to be awarded thus, the ministry delayed the process, Ministry sources said.

The Sunday Times learns that the process had been delayed as the Indian government strongly objected to awarding this tender to the China-Pakistani company.

However, finally, the subject minister had requested cabinet approval to suspend this officially permitted tender, under these circumstances.

The Ministry had instead attempted to award this tender to Petronet LNG Ltd. of India, as an unsolicited procurement, but since the company did not have any experience regarding FSRU, the ministry had rejected the request and said if the Indian government supported the company, they would be able to supply LNG in containers.

“This will badly hamper the investor confidence and no genuine investor will come forward in future to this country,” the official said.

A Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) top official said, “It will be a costly solution as there would be no competition, with prices being determined by the Indian company”. He said it could have an impact on the electricity tariff which would be increased and all costs would be passed on to the consumers.

The CEB’s Least Cost Long Term Generation and Expansion Plan (LCLTGEP) (2018-2037), which was approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) in 2018, identifies the need for converting furnace oil and diesel power plants to LNG power plants to reduce power generation costs.

Accordingly, the CEB called for international competitive open tenders from February 18, 2021 to June 25, 2021, and two bidders came forward.

At that point, the US-based New Fortress Energy Company which gave rise to much controversy in 2021, had, without submitting an open bid for this tender, presented an unsolicited proposal to the government. The then Gotabhaya Rajapaksa government which supported this unsolicited proposal had even signed an agreement to sell 40% of the shares of the 300 MW Treasury-owned Kerawalapitiya Yugadhanavi Diesel Power Plant to the New Fortress Energy.

However, due to strong objections to the deal, the agreement had not been implemented up to now.

Against this backdrop, the CANC granted approval on August 4 last year to award the tender to the China-Pakistan Consortium, one of the two companies which had submitted proper bids for the tender.


Excise officers who kidnapped Beedi businessman remanded




Five suspects including the Tangalle Excise OIC who were arrested over kidnapping and assaulting a Beedi businessman in Walasmulla, have been remanded till October 5 after being produced in the Walasmulla Magistrate’s Court.

The Excise OIC, two other excise officers and a driver from the Tangalle Excise Station and an army sergeant are among the remanded suspects.

The business license of the businessman residing in Maraketiya, Rajapuragoda in Walasmulla expired on June 26.

A team of excise officials including the OIC of the Tangalle Excise Station had arrived at his house on September 18 and seized the Beedi leaves.

Excise officials had demanded Rs.1.4 million from the businessman not to take legal action in this regard.

They had taken the businessman away in a three-wheeler, beaten him up, and then had taken an amount of Rs.1 million by force.

A nearby CCTV camera has captured the excise officers kidnapping the businessman.

Meanwhile, the four Excise officers were interdicted by the Commissioner General of Excise.

The decision has been taken following the instruction of State Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya.

The four Excise officers were interdicted over the allegations of assault and soliciting a bribe from the Beedi manufacturer for not implementing the law against him for possession of Beedi leaves without a license.

Related News: 

Excise officials kidnap beedi businessman & forcefully take Rs.1mn

4 Excise officers interdicted for assaulting Beedi businessman

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Nandiyas, Sri Lanka’s oldest turns 109




The 109-year-old Magala Kottachchi Nandiyas, a resident of Kappettiagoda in Galle, is the oldest citizen in Sri Lanka, the National Secretariat for Elders confirmed.

According to his identity card, Nandiyas was born on June 3, 1914. Nandiyas, who lives a very healthy life even now, is a farmer by profession.

Although he had only gone up to grade five, he can read and write.

It is said that the reason for this senior citizen’s healthy lifestyle is the toxic-free nutritious diet.

Until recently, he has cultivated potatoes, sweet potatoes, and even cassava in his home garden.

He is a father of four and a grandfather of four grandchildren. The youngest grandson is now five years old.

Nandiyas is fondly called ‘Loku Aiya’ or Big Brother by the whole village.

The beloved wife of Mr. Nandiyas had passed away some time ago.

Although he has recently developed a hearing impairment, his memory is still intact.

Source – Dinamina

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Port City to be ‘Colombo Financial Zone’: President




President Ranil Wickremesinghe said that a new legislation has been drafted to transform the Port City as the Colombo Financial Zone.

President Wickremesinghe said this in his address at the 2023 Commercial Mediation Symposium at Colombo’s Hilton Hotel, the President’s Media Division said.

The event was organized by International Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre (IADRC).

The President underscored the significance of international trade agreements and the need for Sri Lanka to become a center for alternate dispute resolution.

He urged legal professionals to look beyond Sri Lanka’s borders and specialize in emerging fields like AI, Blockchain and green energy to secure the nation’s competitive future.

“Now we want Sri Lanka to be a center. One is the new legislation which will replace the port city to make it a Colombo financial zone with jurisdiction for offshore activity. The new law has been drafted. And we will see the light of day before the end of the year.”

“Secondly, the BOI will be replaced with the Economic Commission. Which is also looking at the resolution of disputes. We will be entering a number of free trade agreements. We have got one with Singapore. We are about to finalize one with Thailand. We are discussing with India to upgrade the agreement. Talking with Bangladesh. And more than that, we are moving to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). That’s the largest trading community in the world. So this means that alternate dispute resolutions are going to be important.”

In a final call to action, he offered government funding to support learning and expertise development in these new areas, inviting all stakeholders to join in the journey towards a more efficient and forward-looking legal landscape in Sri Lanka.

President Wickremesinghe emphasized that Sri Lanka must position itself as the central player in the region. When examining Singapore as a benchmark, Sri Lanka should strive to match or surpass Singapore in various aspects, except for cost, where it should maintain a competitive advantage.

This approach is crucial because there exists a noticeable void in this region, which Sri Lanka can effectively fill if it acts swiftly.

“This is the key lesson to be derived. Furthermore, it is essential for all lawyers and individuals involved in legal services to broaden their perspectives and explore opportunities beyond their current scope,” the President added.

Meanwhile, he acknowledged the long-standing reliance on trial courts and stressed the importance of embracing alternate dispute resolution methods.

Highlighting the government’s commitment, he mentioned the establishment of the Alternate Dispute Resolution Center in 2018 and expressed support for its continued growth.

President Wickremesinghe urged the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Investments to collaborate on supporting these initiatives.

“Alternate dispute resolution, arbitration, both have a long way to travel in Sri Lanka and that’s our problem. We have to first find ways of how we can adjust to this process. You need a change of culture. Change of culture where disputes can be resolved in the shortest possible time. Which means we are in a way wedded to the old concept of the trial court? Whether we have a domestic inquiry, we all want to follow the same procedure. I don’t know why. But nevertheless, this is one of the challenges that we have to face.”

He emphasized that success in dispute resolution was crucial for Sri Lanka’s aspirations to be an outward-looking economy.

The event was attended by Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, State Minister Anuradha Jayarathne, Judges of the Supreme Court, Attorney General, Former Attorney Generals, Retired Judges of the Supreme Court, Resident Representative of UNDP Azusa Kubota, Secretary to the Ministry of Justice, IADRC Chairman Dr. K. Kanag-Isvaran, Director & Secretary General of IADRC Dhara Wijayatilake, legal professionals and the representatives of reputed companies in Sri Lanka.

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