Fuel crisis: Sapugaskanda Refinery back mid-week


  • Adequate crude stocks for 25-28 days of operation
  • Another shipment expected by end August


By Asiri Fernando

Sri Lanka’s ageing oil refinery at Sapugaskanda will recommence operations this week (15), following the arrival of a crude oil shipment yesterday (13), The Sunday Morning learns.

According to sources at the Ministry of Power and Energy, a 100,000 MT shipment of Urals crude was expected to arrive off Colombo Port last evening (13). The crude oil is being carried aboard the Palau-flagged tanker ZHEN-1 (IMO No: 9255880).

A senior official at the Ministry told The Sunday Morning that an order for another shipment of similar volume was being considered for the last week of August, but noted that this remained uncertain until funding was secured.

When contacted by The Sunday Morning, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC)-run Sapugaskanda Refinery Operations Manager Harindra Kodagoda confirmed that plans were in place to recommence operations on Monday.

“It all depends on how the ship discharges the crude oil into the onshore storage farm. If the process ends early on Sunday, we can commence operations on Monday or Tuesday,” Kodagoda said, adding that the oil was sufficient for the refinery to run for about a month.  

When asked about the continuity of crude oil supply, Kodagoda said he was confident that other shipments would be lined up to keep the refinery going.

In May, when Sri Lanka imported Siberian crude oil, the Sapugaskanda Refinery operation was geared to use 3,500-4,000 MT of crude oil daily. At the time, Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera told The Sunday Morning that the refinery could produce approximately 1,000 MT of diesel, 400 MT of furnace oil, 250 MT of naphtha, 600 MT of kerosene, and 50 MT of LPG.

Last evening, Minister Wijesekera took to Twitter to announce that the second shipment of crude oil would arrive between 23-29 August and would be a 120,000 MT consignment of Urals crude. “The refinery will commence operations by mid next week,” he added.