What is the ‘real reason’ behind Sri Lanka’s sudden fuel shortage?

What is the ‘real reason’ behind Sri Lanka’s sudden fuel shortage?

Written by Lahiru Fernando

04 Nov, 2017 | 10:51 pm

Most of Colombo stood still for a second day today (November 4) as long queues got even longer at fuel stations as the fear of a fuel shortage heightens.

With all this going on, the people have one question running in their heads…

What is the real reason for this shortage across the country?

Sources say that a shipment of Fuel belonging to the Indian Oil Corporation was brought into Sri Lanka on October 15. This shipment was supposed to be the next batch of refills for fuel stations across the country.

However, the shipment was rejected.

Why? – It is said the fuel was not of proper standard.

“a shipment of fuel imported by Lanka IOC, proved to be of substandard quality and was therefore not unloaded” – statement by Arjuna Ranatunga – the Minister of Petroleum Resources Development.

There was a fall back plan, which was a fuel shipment belonging to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. This shipment was set to arrive in the island on the 3rd or 4th of November.

But that plan fell apart with reports which said the ship will only arrive in Sri Lanka come 8th or possibly 9th of November.

As expected, this hampered the supply of petrol to fuel stations across the country.

What now?

Minister Ranathunga says the ministry is capable of supplying 80% of the requirement.

But according to Petroleum Trade Unions, only 10,000 metric tonnes of fuel remain in the reserves.

How much is 10,000 metric tonnes? – Well, around 4000 to 5000 metric tonnes of fuel is required daily in Sri Lanka.

Not much, is it?

What about spot purchases?

Even if the ministry decides to spot purchase, a ship carrying fuel will not be able to reach Sri Lanka that fast. A ship is already scheduled to make port by 8th or 9th anyway.

Will the reserves run out in two days? Will there be a fuel crisis after Tuesday? – these are the questions running rampant in people’s minds at present.

There have been fuel shipment rejections in the past. But there was no fuel shortage which followed.

As per the information News 1st received, the subject minister holds a discussion with the relevant officials every week to understand and ascertain the fuel requirements.

The purchasing of fuel was being done as per a long term tender process at each quarter, however a cabinet paper had been presented to seek permission to go into spot purchasing after canceling the tender procedures that were followed over a long period of time.

According to what the ministry says, there will be no spot purchasing done for fuel.

Then why was such a cabinet paper presented?

Even if fuel purchasing is done through spot purchasing, the ship carrying the fuel will take 2 to 3 weeks to arrive in the country.

By this time the fuel cargo ordered by the CPC will arrive in the country.

Then what will happen to the excess fuel?

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