Addressing a media briefing at the Petroleum Ministry today, the Minister said this process is a routine process upon arrival of any fuel shipment and takes about six hours.
Minister Wijesekara noted that the existing stocks will be sufficient until the 21st of June, adding that with the shipment of diesel, management of the stocks will be much easier. He added that petrol and diesel would be distributed in a systematic manner to make best use of the existing stocks.
Meanwhile, Minister Wijesekera said a statement by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe pertaining to fuel shipments has been shared out of context on social media. “What the Prime Minister said was that the process of importing fuel to the country has become an arduous task. Under the Indian credit line of $ 500 million that we received initially and the additional $200 million, we imported fuel from March until yesterday (16) where we received the final shipment of diesel. The Indian credit line offered us great relief in importing petrol, diesel and on one occasion aviation fuel.”
He said that the long-standing fuel suppliers have seized supplying fuel due to the non-payment of their outstanding dues. “However, we are in talks with them with the mediation of the Central Bank to determine the time frame which their due payments could be met.”
He said certain parties have misinterpreted the Prime Minister’s statement claiming that Sri Lanka received the final shipment of fuel today. However, he said that it was a fact that the fuel shipment that arrived today was the final diesel shipment that Sri Lanka receives under the Indian credit line facility. He also noted that as the balance from the Indian credit line funds were inadequate to pay for this shipment, USD 25 million was paid by the Treasury to make up the balance, two weeks ago.
He also said that the Sapugaskanda oil refinery which recommenced operations recently is currently refining both petrol and diesel. However, he said that the Sapugaskanda refinery is still not operating at maximum capacity. “We restarted operations at Sapugaskanda after three months and have to manage until the next shipment arrives. Currently we produce around 350 metric tons of petrol daily and around 600 MT of diesel. In addition we also refine furnace oil, aviation fuel and gas. However, the fuel produced at the Sapugaskanda refinery is not included in the managed stock of fuel. Hence, this stock will serve as a reserve stock.”