Bankrupt Sri Lanka runs out of fuel
COLOMBO, June 25: Sri Lanka has virtually run out of petrol and diesel after several expected shipments were delayed indefinitely, the energy minister said Saturday while apologising to motorists for the worsening fuel crisis.
Kanchana Wijesekera said oil cargoes that were due last week did not turn up while those scheduled to arrive next week will also not reach Sri Lanka due to "banking" reasons.
Sri Lanka is facing a serious shortage of foreign exchange to finance even the most essential imports, including food, fuel and medicines and is appealing for international handouts.
Wijesekera said the state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation was unable to say when fresh oil supplies will be on the island. The CPC had also shut its only refinery over a shortage of crude oil, he added.
The refinery started operation earlier this month using 90,000 tonnes of Russian crude oil bought through Dubai-based Coral Energy on two-month credit terms.
Wijesekera said he regretted that deliveries of "petrol, diesel and crude oil shipments due earlier this week and next week" would not be fulfilled "on time for banking and logistical reasons".
Scarce supplies left in the country will be distributed through a handful of pumping stations, he said.
Public transport and power generation will be given priority, Wijesekera added, urging motorists not to queue up for fuel. -AFP