Home INDIAN NEWS India, Sri Lanka to begin talks on petroleum pipeline project

India, Sri Lanka to begin talks on petroleum pipeline project

by editorenglish

New Delhi and Colombo are set to begin technical discussions that could pave the way for a multi-product petroleum pipeline between the two South Asian nations, Mint has learnt.

The project, which was announced during president Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to India in July, is expected to help Sri Lanka improve its energy security at an affordable cost.

Among other things, the meetings are expected to touch on the physical alignment of the petroleum pipeline. A proposal, currently under discussion, is for the pipeline to run from Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu to Jaffna in Northeast Sri Lanka. However, these proposals are understood to be at a preliminary stage. The aim of the pipeline will be to improve Sri Lanka’s energy security at an affordable cost.

The talks follow the 2022 economic crisis that left the island-nation facing crippling shortages of energy. Widespread power cuts and fuel shortages fuelled public discontent, which led to the fall of president Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government, paving the way for Wickremesinghe.

Sri Lanka is among a number of South Asian neighbours with which India is attempting to build energy connectivity. In 2019, India and Nepal inaugurated the Motihari-Amlekhgunj pipeline, which runs for 69 km between India’s Motihari and Nepal’s Amlekhgunj.

The pipeline, built with Indian assistance and led by Indian Oil Corporation, has a capacity of 2 million tonnes per annum.

India and Bangladesh inaugurated a ‘friendship pipeline’ this year for transporting high-speed diesel. To be sure, the project, announced in 2015, is just the second cross-border energy pipeline in the region.

India has also made other efforts to provide energy security to neighbouring countries through the provision of cross-border power supply. This will see India and Sri Lanka try to link their power grids in an effort to create a more robust energy trade market in South Asia. Mint had reported on this development in January.

“India today has a very robust power grid running from North to South and East to West of the country. In the future we would like to see the grid connected to neighbouring countries including Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and then expand that connection to South-east Asian countries, to emerge as a unified market,” said Ajay Tewari, additional secretary, ministry of power in December 2022.

Courtesy: Mint

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