Fuel Pricing

March 07, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s state-owned petroleum utility aims to hold retail fuel prices at current levels for the time being despite crude oil prices hitting record highs, its chairman Ashantha de Mel said. Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) is hoping income from oil futures hedging and its refinery resuming production after a shut down for maintenance would enable it to avoid a price hike.

Despite crude oil prices hitting nearly 106 dollars a barrel, de Mel said he prefers to wait and see if prices fall and perhaps take a decision on raising retail fuel prices towards the end of this month.

“At the moment we’re not very keen to raise retail fuel prices because we realise all commodities have been going up and there’s going to be an increase in electricity tariffs as well,” he told LBO in an interview.

“But we’re trying to see whether we can manage. With the refinery resuming production we can at least wait for a couple of months and see whether prices are going to ease out without burdening the consumers right away.”

The island’s sole refinery owned by the CPC at Sapugaskanda, north of Colombo, has a capacity of 50,000 barrels per day and can refine only about half the island’s requireme