Compiled by Victor Melder

Panic stricken motorists joined long queues outside filling stations in the country following fears of a shortage of fuel after a parcel of 30,000 metric tonnes of petrol imported by the Indian Oil Company (IOC) was rejected as the shipment failed to meet quality specifications. This development has led to a virtual ‘run’ on stocks maintained by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), officials said. With motorists desperate to tank up before CPC stocks also dried up, the demand has zoomed to a level that supplies cannot match, they noted. As a result not only IOC filling stations remained temporarily shut, but many CPC sheds were also hit and remained out of stocks due to the unprecedented clamor for fuel. CPC trade unionists were quoted as saying that some filling stations had not received fresh supplies of petrol since last Thursday and the overall picture appears grim as the next shipment was due on November 8, that’s in three days time. “All indications are that the dearth of fuel is bound to continue, with the situation worsening as existing stocks dwindle faster than anticipated due to the surge in demand”, they predicted. By October 31, the Kolonnawa refinery had in stock 7,000 metric tonnes of petrol and Muthurajawela 4,000 metric tonnes. The average consumption of petrol per day is around 3,000 metric tonnes. With motorists eager to tank up, the question is for how long existing supplies will last, they said. Meanwhile, the Office of Petroleum Resources Minister, Arjuna Ranatunga, in a special statement, urged motorists to economize on the use of petrol. “The CPC has maintained sufficient stocks of petrol to meet the requirements of motorists. However, a consignment of petrol imported by IOC failed to meet quality standards. As a result of halting the unloading of this stock of fuel, a shortfall in supplies has arisen”, the statement noted. It added: “The shortage has caused panic amongst motorists. However, we have been able to supply 80% of the requirements of petrol to the market. There is no disruption in the supply of diesel and kerosene. As this is a temporary development, motorists are advised to use petrol sparingly”. (Daily Island 5.11.2017)

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