National People’s Power Parliamentarian Vijitha Herath today questioned the government as to why crude oil has not been imported.
MP Herath speaking in Parliament said the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery is currently shut down adding that the country can cover a significant portion of its fuel requirement if crude oil is imported and refined.
He said if the refinery is operated for 15 days with a daily capacity of 5,200MT, one fuel shipment would suffice monthly.
MP Herath said through the refinery 714,000 litres of 92 Octane petrol, 1,860,000 litres of diesel, 1,300,000 litres of kerosene oil, and 1,400,000 litres of jet A1 fuel can be produced.
The MP said if the jet fuel is sold to SriLankan Airlines at USD 1, the government can incur USD 1.4 million.
The MP called for priority to be given to matters that are of importance adding that through the local refining process, the dollar shortage can also be addressed.
Responding, Minister of Energy Kanchana Wijesekera said the import of crude oil is a tedious process, adding orders cannot be placed for purchases to arrive the following week.
Minister Wijesekera noted that an order for crude oil is due to arrive on the 15th of July and another shipment on the 12th of August.
Wijesekera also said directives have been issued to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation to call for term tenders for next year and to hold discussions in this regard.
The Minister also reiterated that the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery is not being privatised adding that all such claims are false.