Sri Lanka is expecting a petrol shipment on the 23rd of June while a diesel consignment is scheduled to arrive on the 24th of June.
Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera said letters of credit amounting to USD 90 million have been opened for the petrol and diesel shipments.
The Minister said at present, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation has 40,000MT of diesel, 4,000MT of 92-Octane petrol and 8,300MT of 95-Octane petrol.
Speaking during a media briefing in Colombo today, Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said they have selected 11 new suppliers to provide fuel for the country.
Meanwhile, the general public has been requested not to be in fuel queues until the 23rd of June owing to the limited availability of petrol and diesel stocks.
Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said since the next petrol shipment is due only on Thursday the public should avoid being in fuel queues on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Minister Wijesekera said following the arrival of the next shipment, they will have diesel required for the next 10 days.
He said therefore they will be able to release more than adequate diesel stocks to the market which will result in shorter queues.
The Minister said they have also identified filling stations in urban areas that have not received stocks in recent days and such filling stations will be provided with petrol stocks.
Minister Kanchana Wijesekera added that they have made a special request from the Lanka Indian Oil Company to release additional stocks of petrol to the market daily.
He said LIOC is able to release additional petrol stocks by utilizing nearly 10,000MT of petrol currently held at the Trincomalee Terminal.
Minister Wijesekera noted that at present, the company releases around 300MT of petrol to IOC filling stations but a request has been made to release around 1,000MT petrol stock daily in the next few days.
Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera said they are hoping to manage the petrol stocks with the support of Lanka IOC in the next few days.
The Minister also pleaded with the public to support them in managing the limited fuel stocks.
He said the public should limit unnecessary travel and also allow those engaged in essential services to obtain fuel without any hindrance.
The Ministry of Energy says private bus owners can obtain necessary fuel for operations from the nearest Sri Lanka Transport Board-owned depots.
The Ministry has accordingly requested bus operators not to obtain fuel from ordinary filling stations.
Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera said the daily fuel requirement to run SLTB and private buses is 600MT and they have taken measures to release necessary stocks without any restrictions.
He said if additional fuel is required, the SLTB can make a request. Minister Wijesekera said therefore private bus operators should not visit ordinary filling stations from tomorrow.
He said they have also discussed and received consent from the SLTB to provide fuel to several other groups through its depots.
The Energy Minister noted that buses and vans that are used to transport international tourists, vehicles that transport children to schools and office transport vehicles can also obtain diesel from SLTB depot.
Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said therefore no one can claim that public transport services are affected by the on-going fuel shortage. He also requested operators not to misuse the provisions granted to specific groups.
Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera says despite the current fuel crisis, they will ensure rail operations are unaffected.
Speaking during a media briefing in Colombo today, Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said Sri Lanka Railways require around 150MT of fuel daily to ensure train services can function without any terminations.
The Minister therefore said as a priority they will release necessary fuel stocks to the Railway Department.
A new mechanism is to be implemented to issue fuel for three-wheelers and motorcycles.
Minister of Energy Kanchana Wijesekera said a plan has been devised to provide fuel on selected days based on the last digit of the vehicle number plate.
The Minister said accordingly a three-wheeler in a specific group based on the number plate will be able to obtain fuel on two or three days weekly.
Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said by implementing the new programme they are attempting to reduce the length of fuel queues.
He said by implementing the programme, a vehicle will be able to obtain 20 to 30 litres of fuel without wasting hours in fuel queues.
Minister Wijesekera said with a 6,600-litre fuel bowser, around 320 vehicles can obtain fuel.
He said they are not in a position to send two or three fuel bowsers a day to a specific filling station or provide fuel to every filling station in the country on a daily basis.
The Minister said the new measure has been taken to distribute fuel to a maximum number of vehicles.
Meanwhile, Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera says from next week, specific filling stations will provide fuel to those in the health sector, police vehicles and those engaged in essential services on a priority basis.
The Minister said the move is necessary to ensure essential services in the country are able function without major interruptions.
Minister Wijesekera said since authorities have raised concerns over the impact the fuel shortage has had on the health services, specific filling stations will provide fuel to selected groups on Fridays.
He said at certain hospitals surgeries have been delayed, since some doctors and health workers had been able to source fuel for their vehicles to get to their respective hospitals.
Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera said therefore they are compelled to give priority to certain essential services and persons engaged in essential work when issuing fuel until the situation becomes normal.
Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera says the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery has crude oil necessary only until the 24th of June.
Speaking to media in Colombo today, Minister Wijesekera said however they are expecting crude oil stocks to arrive in the island on the 29th of June, 10th of July and 14th of July.