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Reverse secret deal giving US monopoly over Sri Lanka’s energy sector

The sole rights to a US company to monopolize Sri Lanka’s energy sector were promoted by the former US envoy Teplitz. The importance of this deal to the US has been seen to the extent the US was agreeable to settle dues to the US company for any payment failure by SL. What payment? The Floating Storage & Regasification Unit contractor is to deliver the ship on time but delays due to ‘public protests’ or ‘any other’ – require the CEB to pay FSRU rental nearly $200,000 per day. What? Imagine the current 50-day protests taking place & ship delays, how much would Sri Lanka have to pay?

New Fortress Energy Inc was signed by President Gotabaya & US at 12.06 am (midnight) on 17 September 2021
• Transfers 40% GoSL (Treasury) stake in Yugadanavi Power Station in kerawalapitiya to a US company for $300million without any tender process being followed. The US company did not submit a tender.
• New Fortress Energy also signed a Framework Agreement with GoSL to construct a new offshore LNG receiving, storage, and regasification terminal to supply gas to Sri Lanka’s power plants located in the Kerawalapitiya Power Complex.
• 13 July 2021 US company signed MOU with Lakdhanavi Limited to jointly develop a 350MV gas-fired power plant in Kerawalapitiya Power Complex in Colombo. (the US would be supplying gas to the Yugadanavi power plant)
• Finance Minister – Basil Rajapakse, submitted a cabinet paper for this purpose on 6th September & obtained approval without Cabinet Ministers even going through it.
• Concerns were raised that the US would monopolize LNG supply
• On 21st September 2021 – New Fortress Energy announced that West Coast Power Limited was the owner of a 310 MW Yugadanavi power plant together with rights to develop a new LNG terminal off the coast of Colombo.
• The deal meant that the US Company is given gas supply rights to kerawalapitiya power complex where 310MW of power is produced while an additional 700MW is to be built of which 350MW is timed to be operational by 2023.
• Several political parties filed cases to prevent the transfer of shares
• The secret deal includes the purchase & supply of LNG, hire of Floating Storage & Regasification Unit & delivery pipelines to the US company
• On 4th March 2022 after the Supreme Court dismissed without hearing all the FR petitions filed to prevent the NFE deal. The order was made by the five-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justices Buwaneka Aluvihare, Priyantha Jayawardena, Vijith Malalgoda, and L.T.B Dehideniya.

• This secret deal has given a foreign nation monopoly in Sri Lanka’s energy sector.
• The secret deal means that Sri Lanka has to depend on the US for its energy and US could give or deny the energy
• The deal questions the arbitrary manner a country’s assets has been siphoned off in secret.
• The secret deal also raises questions of national security concerns.

-shenali waduge-

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