Indian business opens 50 petrol stations in Sri Lanka to ease crisis

A company official said on Monday that Sri Lanka had approved India’s Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC) to open 50 additional fuel outlets.

Sri Lanka has been in its worst financial crisis for over 70 years due to a lack of foreign cash to pay for food, medication, and gasoline imports.

LIOC, the island’s smallest gasoline supplier, already has 216 stations and would invest $5.5 million to expand, its MD said.

LIOC is a Colombo Stock Exchange-listed subsidiary of Indian Oil Corporation.

“We’ve been trying to get this approval for a while, and we’re ready to help Sri Lanka handle its problems,” Gupta added.

State-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) operates 1,190 gas stations.

LIOC’s retail expansion followed a December agreement to obtain control of 75 oil tanks near Sri Lanka’s Trincomalee port.

In the previous two months, the company has increased supplies to CPC after Sri Lanka ran out of cash to pay for imports, causing consumers to wait in long, sometimes-daily lines.

India has injected $4bn into its southern neighbor this year through swaps and credit lines to buy petroleum, food, and fertilizer.

Sri Lanka is also in talks with the IMF for a possible $3bn bailout package, together with China and Japan.