Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

Outrage in Sri Lanka after official claims 'wrong oil' led to shutdown

A Sri Lankan government minister has pledged legal action after a senior official told the BBC that a power plant was forced to shut down, after the wrong type of crude oil was imported and used.

"Sulphur content is too high in the furnace oil [fuel oil] which is not suitable for the current power plants and it's also not conforming with environmental standards," Janaka Ratnayake, the head of the Public Utilities Commission, told the BBC.

"If you buy good quality crude oil for refineries, then this problem will not happen," he added, blaming the quality of the oil imports for the lengthy power cuts the island has been facing.

His remarks sparked uproar from the government, with Sri Lanka’s Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekara tweeting the state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation will “respond legally” to the claims.

CPC will respond legally to Chairman, PUCSL on the accusations on the quality of Crude Oil. CPC has adequate stocks of Diesel & Fuel Oil. Extended Power Cuts was requested by CEB due to breakdown at Lakshapana, insufficient funds at CEB for diesel & fuel oil & Hydro management.

— Kanchana Wijesekera (@kanchana_wij) September 26, 2022

Instead Wijesekara pointed at the breakdown of one hydro-power stations and the government’s lack of funds to purchase for diesel and fuel oil.

As the drama unfolded, the PUCSL issued a statement warning of extending the length of the ongoing power cut by more several hours after the third unit at the Norochocholai had to be shut down.

Wijesekara responded by stating "the breakdown was due to a steam leak and that fuel power plants will be used to manage power generation in the mean time”.

“Repairs are expected to take three to five days," he claimed.

We need your support

Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. Tamil journalists are particularly at threat, with at least 41 media workers known to have been killed by the Sri Lankan state or its paramilitaries during and after the armed conflict.

Despite the risks, our team on the ground remain committed to providing detailed and accurate reporting of developments in the Tamil homeland, across the island and around the world, as well as providing expert analysis and insight from the Tamil point of view

We need your support in keeping our journalism going. Support our work today.

For more ways to donate visit https://donate.tamilguardian.com.