Fuel crisis to worsen in August!

Minister of Power and Energy – Kanchana Wijesekera has said that the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has informed him that they are unable to provide at least $150 million to import fuel next month.

It is said that on an average, 04 ships carrying 40,000 MT of diesel each and 02 ships carrying 35,000 MT of Petrol each are needed to fulfil the monthly fuel requirement of the country.

One shipment will cost between $ 52-55 million and the minister says that around $550 million are required to import the monthly energy requirement.

From that, $450 million are required for Petrol and Diesel while $35 million and $30 million are required to import LP Gas and coal respectively.

From the $450 million required for Petrol and Diesel imports, $150 million are spent to operate generators to meet the monthly electricity requirement.

Speaking, marketing manager of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation – Chaminda Samarakoon has said that although around 5,500 – 6,000 MT of Diesel were released to the market daily prior to the fuel crisis, only 3,000 – 3,500 MT are released nowadays.

Likewise, only 3,000 MT of petrol is released to the market daily these days, as opposed to 3,500 – 3,700 MT prior to the fuel crisis.

Although fuel was released to a maximum capacity last April, measures were taken to limit stocks issued as the crisis has worsened since then.

The CPC also says that it would be challenging to distribute fuel in a manner to make current stocks last for 20 days. Therefore, distribution would be limited from August 01, they say.

Central Bank Governor – Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe had also talked to media on the fuel crisis earlier this week.

“Our foreign reserves are at a very low level. If India or China helps us, we can resolve this issue without great difficulty. But now the situation is uncertain whether we will get such assistance. We have requested for assistance, but there is still no certainty that we will get it. Now let’s imagine that we get no support, then as we have used up our foreign reserves there will be oil supplies until the middle of next month for the payments made. How to get oil beyond that is an issue. We have paid for three diesel shipments and two petrol shipments. That is what we are receiving these days. That will be sufficient till the middle of next month with shortages in supplies,” the Governor has said.

Dr. Weerasinghe said that if India or China agreed to give short term financing, say USD one billion, then Sri Lanka could meet with the oil requirement for three months until a more sustainable arrangement was made. “If we get that short-term financing help, we might get oil or otherwise this fuel crisis will persist,” he had further said.

(Source : Aruna)

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