24 foreign firms interested in entering petroleum biz in SL: Minister

Colombo: Twenty-four companies from India, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, the US, China, Russia, the UK, Malaysia, Norway, and the Philippines are interested in the petroleum business in Sri Lanka, a Minister said.

Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera said on Sunday night that his ministry has appointed a committee to evaluate the expressions of interest (EOIs) submitted by the foreign firms, which will finalise the process within six weeks, reports Xinhua news agency.

Wijesekera said companies in petroleum-producing countries were invited to import, distribute and sell petroleum products in Sri Lanka.

The Minister added 700 petrol pumps under the state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) can be given to selected companies for operations, and the selected companies can also use other CPC facilities on a commercial basis, he said.

Currently, the CPC and the Lanka Indian Oil Corporation are permitted to distribute fuel to retail customers.

Wijesekera said that the CPC, which holds 80 per cent of the retail petroleum market, is unable to keep on supplying fuel because of dollar shortages.

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