Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) is getting ready to supply diesel and furnace oil for Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to resume power generation at their thermal power plants as unloading of two diesel shipments stranded at the Colombo port due to delay in LC payments being settled.
Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila er said that two ships with 76,000 metric tonnes of diesel are docked at the Colombo harbour and if dollars are provided fuel could be obtained from them.
The Central Bank has released funds for the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) to obtain fuel from two ships docked at the Colombo Port.
Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila said that the approval was given last evening and the unloading began today.
He said that of the 37,500 MT of diesel being purchased by Sri Lanka 10,000 MT will be given to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB).
Accordingly, he said that the CEB will have fuel from the current stocks for another 8 days.
The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) is grappling to find at least US$200 million to import fuel to Sri Lanka enabling it to continue petrol and diesel supply in the country this month without any shortages, the minister said.
He disclosed that the CPC needs $300 million for fuel imports but it has only $150 million and there was an immediate requirement of $52 million to clear two petrol and diesel shipments currently stuck at the port.
The CPC processed a stock fuel sufficient for 10 days to meet the demand of the motorists in the country, he said.
The Sapugaskanda oil refinery was not in operation due to shortage of crude oil at present while the CPC authorities are expecting a crude oil shipment by Sunday January 23, a senior official of the corporation said.
Gammanpila said that the fuel shortage would not be there if Sri Lanka had sufficient dollars in hand.He added that once the dollar crisis is resolved then fuel supplies will be normalised.
As a result of the dollar shortage in Sri Lanka, it is reported that close to 1,700 containers of imported essential commodities are stranded at the Colombo Port for nearly two months.
The Essential Food Commodities Importers & Traders Association attributed the situation to the delay in issuing dollars to the banks by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
Although several rounds of discussions were held with the related ministers and public officials on the matter, a proper solution is yet to be reached, the importers said further.
Reportedly, the delays in clearing the stranded essential items at the Colombo Port have led to a shortage of goods in the country, and this situation is expected to prevail in the future as well.
A meeting has been scheduled for January 18, with the Trade Minister to discuss the issue, the association added.