Due to the forex crisis, Sri Lanka is unable to purchase jet fuel from Oman and Malaysia, despite the fact that tenders were called and orders placed for USD 49 million and USD 53 million respectively, Ceylon Today learns.
Local aviation is making colossal loses as refuelling airplanes that arrive in the Island have been halted due to the massive energy and dollar crisis.
Ministry of Energy said that they have no US Dollars to import aviation fuel despite tenders been called from Oman and Malaysia.
A senior official said both orders have been approved but requires a down payment in dollars before it’s shipped to Sri Lanka.
When contacted, Secretary to the Ministry of Energy, P.D.U.K. Mapa Pathirana said the Indian Government has already offered a credit line for fuel. “We have taken USD 500 million, another USD 200 million and also we have asked for another USD 500 million for fuel and there is limit to taking such financial assistance”.
He also noted that the country needs USD 530 million to purchase jet fuel; an additional USD 30 million.
A load of jet fuel from Sapugaskanda refinery station is expected as Russian crude oil (Siberian light crude) has arrived in the country, said Civil Aviation’s Director Air Transport and Economic Regulations Rayhan Wanniappa.
He also said that there is little jet fuel in reserve being used for airlines whilst requirements have been minimised.
Pathirana added that the country needs 1,200MT of jet fuel for refuelling air planes and distribution has been curtailed due to dollar crisis.
Fuel storages are found in Bandaranaike International airport, Mattala International Airport as well as Ratmalana International Airport.
Meanwhile, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation’s trade union, Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya said that although Russia crude oil has arrived the Sapugaskanda oil refinery has not begun operation. They said it may start next week or so.
Around 90,000MT of Siberian light crude will be sent to Sri Lanka’s refinery after the shipment was acquired on credit from Dubai-based intermediary Coral Energy, France 24 quoted Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera as saying. The Minister told the French news channel that the Siberian grade was not an ideal match for the refinery, which is optimised for Iranian light crude, but no other supplier was willing to extend credit.
Airlines are currently being advised to refuel in Chennai, Dubai, the Maldives, and the UK before and after arrival in Sri Lanka. Local airports have been refuelling in limited numbers in recent months, but the situation has now deteriorated to the point where Sri Lanka cannot supply fuel to domestic airlines, according to the trade union.
By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan