I will never allow substandard oil to unload: Petroleum Minister

Petroleum Minister Arjuna Ranatunga told Parliament Tuesday that he will never allow substandard oil tanker to unload in Sri Lanka.

Ranatunga said even after rejecting the shipment because of substandard oil, the IOC is still keeping their oil tanker in Sri Lankan waters.

“IOC ship carrying their order arrived here on 17th October. We rejected that shipment because two tests proved that it contained substandard oil,” Ranatunga said.

Minister said the ship is still in Trincomalee waters even though it is nearly 16 days after rejecting it.

“Even if I get removed from the ministerial post, I will never allow these oils to unload.”

In a statement, LIOC said once a parcel is rejected, LIOC has no further role thereafter and it is the seller’s (French oil company M/s TOTAL) own sole discretion to decide when to take out the vessel from Sri Lankan waters.

LIOC, however, says CPC officials have rejected the seller’s offer to filter any substandard particles through a separate process. This incident occurred a month after LIOC said it would increase petrol prices.

Ranatunga has requested President and Prime Minister to conduct a special investigation into the fuel shortage as it appears to have a connection between incidents.

“On 31st October, Sapugaskanda refinery stopped working due to electrical failure,” Ranatunga said.

“Our refinery has the capability to refine up to 750 MTs; but we were unable to get any supply from it for 3 days because of that,”

“These are not normal incidents. Even our scheduled shipment carrying fuel docked for bunkering for 10 hours.”

Sri Lanka’s petrol storage capacity is 90,000 MTs and daily requirement is around 2,500 MTs but now the demand has risen to 4,700 MTs per day amid fears of fuel shortage.

The minister, however, expects a shipment by tomorrow night and looks forward to restore fuel supply by Thursday. Prime Minister told Parliament that another shipment is to arrive from India by Thursday or Friday.

Minister Ranatunga said there seems to be a mafia behind Sri Lanka’s fuel supply as same companies are applying every time when calling long term tenders.

“We presented a cabinet paper to stop this mafia, discussions are currently underway.” he added.

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