A timely check prevented the state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) from providing contaminated jet fuel for use at the Bandaranaike International Airport.
A stock of 7,500 tons imported from British Petroleum in Singapore was found to be of low quality, Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premajayantha told the Sunday Times yesterday.
He said his Ministry raised issue and the supplier had agreed to take back the contaminated stock and provide good quality jet fuel. “However, after prolonged negotiations we have now agreed to treat it as kerosene oil and the price differences have been ironed out,” he said. The shipment was imported together with another stock of 12,500 tons in another tanker, he said.
It was only in June last year that the CPC was embroiled in a related controversy after the import of 20,000 tons of contaminated petrol from a supplier in the United Arab Emirates. More than 2,000 vehicles were affected but only a few vehicle owners were paid compensation. Although an official committee of inquiry was appointed to probe the matter, the report still remains unpublicized.
However, airline officials familiar with re-fuelling facilities at the BIA said that pumping contaminated fuel into aircraft touching down there would have had disastrous consequences. Minister Premajayantha said since the detection of contaminated petrol, the CPC was careful and intensified quality checks on stocks obtained.
Meanwhile Mr. Premajayantha also announced that the CPC would shortly instal equipment at fuel stations to monitor the quality of fuel they pump into vehicles. He said the objective was to ensure that the motorists obtain quality fuel. He added the fuel station owners too could check the quality they receive.
However, some trade unions in the CPC complained that installation of such machines at every fuel station was a waste of funds. They say the primary task of the Corporation was to ensure it delivered quality fuel and conduct periodic checks on fuel stations. “Spending colossal amounts at a time when people are facing major hardships would only benefit people who are after commissions,” they said.