The Ministry of Energy has decided to temporarily shut down operations at the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery.
Speaking to NewsRadio, Chairman of the Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals Limited Mohamed Uvais said the decision was reached over a number of factors, including the unavailability of suppliers to supply crude oil to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation under the prevailing crisis.
Mohamed Uvais said the decision was reached by the Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila at a review meeting held yesterday with the participation of officials representing institutions that come under the purview of the Ministry.
He claimed suppliers have not entered into the tender process with the CPC due to the uncertainty created by the daily increase in prices of crude oil in the world market and it was one of the reasons behind the shortage as well.
He added the other reason was financial difficulties faced by the CPC.
The Chairman said various options were discussed during yesterday’s meeting adding they reached the decision to suspend operations at the Refinery and carry out maintenance and repairs usually scheduled for February.
Chairman of the Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals Limited Mohamed Uvais Mohamed says fuel required for the country for the next 15 days will be available despite the suspension of operations of the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery.
Speaking to NewsRadio, Chairman Mohamed Uvais said several tankers with refined oil previously procured are scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka in the next few weeks.
He said steps are also in place to ensure that the distribution of fuel is carried out without any delays.
Meanwhile, trade unionist Ananda Palitha charged that operations of the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery will be halted tomorrow due to the poor management of the Subject Minister and the government.
He said the Refinery will be closed for the first time in 51 years due to the lack of crude oil adding it is a very tragic situation.
Palitha said the oldest Oil Refinery in Asia belongs to Sri Lanka adding it started operations in 1961 which was then called the undying flame of Asia. He said there was no shortage in the supply of crude oil and suppliers in the world market nor is there a shortage of vessels to transport the necessary crude oil to the country.
He said the next shipment for the Sapugaskanda Refinery was due on the 23rd of December adding a serious fuel crisis will be created by then leaving the country in darkness.