The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation has reached a decision to resume operations at the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery from next week.
Speaking to NewsRadio, a senior official said 700,000 barrels of crude oil previously ordered will arrive at the Port of Colombo in the next few days.
The senior official said the refinery could accordingly resume operations prior to the previously announced date.
The operations of the Sapugaskanda Refinery were suspended on the 15th of November due to several issues including the depletion of imported crude oil.
Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila said the refinery will be closed for a period of 50 days.
Accordingly, 13 days had lapsed since the operations of the fuel refinery were suspended.
Speaking during a media briefing on the 15th of November to convey the decision reached to suspend operations of the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery, Minister Udaya Gammanpila said decision was reached in order for the country’s limited foreign reserves to be directed towards importing essential items.
Minister Gammanpila said foreign reserves required to purchase crude oil can be used to import essential items, such as diesel, medicine, food items and gas since the demand for furnace oil and aviation fuel has reduced.
Minister Gammanpila said the Sapugaskanda Refinery only meets 14% of the petrol and 29% of the diesel requirement of the country.
He claimed directing foreign reserves towards purchasing petrol and diesel instead of importing crude oil is essential in managing foreign exchange adding crude oil importing will resume as soon as the foreign exchange situation is resolved.
The Minister claimed it was not revealed to the public as this was an internal matter concerning the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, that does not affect the country.
Meanwhile, speaking during a media briefing today, Trade unionist Ananda Palitha said employees had already been called in to resume operations at the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery.
Palitha said Minister Gammanpila’s statement pertaining to the reasons behind the decision to suspend operations at the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery has been revealed to the country as false.
He said 90,000MT of Murban crude oil will reach the Port on Tuesday.
The trade unionist said refinery employees are already engaged in maintenance tasks while being paid overtime.
He questioned why crude oil is being imported if importing refined fuel is profitable at US$ 103 per barrel.
He also questioned why crude oil is being imported if there were already 79,000MT of furnace oil and further stocks of 13,000MT in storage and if there were no demand for aviation fuel.
Palitha said it was clear that the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery was shutdown owing to corrupt crude oil deal of the subject Minister.