Colombo, Nov 7 (newsin.asia) – Sri Lanka’s petrol crisis entered into its fourth day Tuesday with long queues of vehicles lining outside petrol stations whilst the state owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation urged people to refrain from panic buying.
Petroleum Minister Arjuna Ranatunga apologized to the nation on Monday evening for the inconvenience caused due to the petrol crisis and stated that the CPC had sufficient stocks of petrol for the next few days.
He said a new oil tanker with 40,000 MT of Petrol was due to arrive in the country from the UAE on Nov 8 and petrol would be distributed to all fuel stations by Nov 9 afternoon.
He said the CPC had adequate stocks to last till November 9 and urged the people not to be misled and overbuy petrol.
Since news of a petrol shortage hit the island on Friday night, CPC officials said people have been storing up on fuel, many filling in cans bottles etc. They said this had led to a surplus in demand which had led to a disruption in their normal services.
Ranatunga, on Monday said that on Oct 17 a shipment of fuel from the Lankan Indian Oil Company had arrived in the country but since it did not meet the standard gasoline import specification of Sri Lanka, it therefore had been rejected.
He said if this substandard fuel had reached the local market, the consequences would have been far more severe.
“We were promised a replacement shipment of fuel on 31 October by LIOC but several days later they said they could not provide a replacement,” Ranatunga said.
He said that a second oil tanker, which was scheduled to reach Colombo port on Nov 2, had been delayed by six days and now a fresh oil tanker would reach Colombo by Nov 8.
The Minister admitted that the delay of the ship scheduled for Nov 2 was questionable and that he would carry out investigations accordingly.
The LIOC, in a statement said that attempts to blame them for the causing the shortage was mischievious and factually incorrect and rejected all allegations leveled against them.
“It maybe noted that LIOC caters to only 16 percent of the Sri Lankan market, while the remaining 84 percent relies on CPC supplies. Thus large shortages across the country can only be caused by disruption in supplies of CPC,” LIOC said.
Angry consumers have taken to social media since Saturday, showing videos of the lengthy queues outside fuel stations and the panic caused among the public. Many said they had been unable to travel to work in their vehicles due to the shortage of petrol.
Taxi services were also slow with many refusing to travel long distances.
Meanwhile Minister Ranatunga told journalists that discussions were underway to construct another refinery in the country and that six more oil storage tanks for Kolonnawa were in the pipeline.