Temporary closure of petroleum refinery, chokes Sri Lanka’s import bill

A month long shut down of the petroleum refinery and the country’s never ending thirst for fuel, nearly tripled Sri Lanka’s oil import bill in June, the island’s Central Bank said Thursday. A month long shut down of the petroleum refinery and the country’s never ending thirst for fuel, nearly tripled Sri Lanka’s oil import bill in June, the island’s Central Bank said Thursday. “Temporary shut down of the petroleum refinery for routine, biannual maintenance work led to increased imports of high value, refined petroleum products in June 2005,” the bank said

Ceypetco’s bi-annual maintenance work, pushed the oil import bill up to US$ 204 million from US$ 89 million in June 2004, the Central Bank said.

The excessively high bill is also due to rise in volumes as well as prices, the bank said while commenting on the island’s external trade performance in June.

Sri Lanka’s import bill for June 2005 also surged 18 percent to US$ 815 million, of which 92 percent was spent on petroleum products.

However, export earnings for June 2005 rose 12 percent to US$ 514 million, as the tropical island shipped out more garments, tea and rubber based products.

Interestingly, earnings fro