The Petroleum Resources Ministry is to hold a crisis meeting today to address the fuel shortage as panic buying of fuel continued for the second day yesterday with the Ceylon Petroleum Cooperation struggling to meet demand.
However, authorities assured that there were enough fuel stocks to meet demand until the next shipment arrived. “The issue is there is artificial demand created due to panic buying. We had enough stocks till 8 November,” explained Petroleum Resources Ministry Secretary Upali Marasinghe.
The CPC rejected the LIOC oil shipment on Tuesday last week as it failed to meet the required standard. Another shipment ordered by the CPC, due to arrive on 2 November, did not come in time. A breakdown in the country’s 50-year-old refinery, crippling local production for three days, led to a limitation in fuel supply prompting the CPC to ration the stocks issued. The daily fuel consumption in the country ranges from 1,800 MT-2,000 MT, while the CPC issues 2,500 MT of stocks.
However, due to the supply issue the authorities limited it to 2,000 MT to ensure buffer stocks were maintained till fresh shipments arrived, Marasinghe revealed. The situation sent consumers into a panic buying frenzy, with them forming long queues at filling stations.
A fresh shipment was ordered on the same day the LIOC shipment was rejected to compensate for the shortage in supply, he stated.
The rejected shipment vessel Mt TORM ASTRID returned to the Trincomalee Port where it still remains. However, the Ministry has informed the LIOC that the oil should not be unloaded at Trincomalee. In 2015 a rejected oil shipment belonging to IOC was later unloaded at the oil storage facility in Hambantota. Cabinet approved a decision to dispose of the fuel only two weeks ago.
Sources : news24