Early Warning

January 2, 2007 (LBO) – Gasoline prices are likely to go up by 5-percent in Sri Lanka, the state-run fuel retailer warned Tuesday, as global oil prices hit 60 dollars a barrel.

Petrol at the pump now costs 92.00 rupees a litre, and Ceylon Petroleum Corp. Chairman Asantha de Mel said they are looking at a 5.00 rupee hike “within the next few days”.

A net oil importer, Sri Lanka last lowered fuel prices on October 25, as global crude prices climbed down from its record highs of 75 dollars to about 58 dollars a barrel.

“We can’t maintain retail prices now that price of barrel of oil is 60 dollars. Petrol should go up at least by five to six rupees a litre,” de Mel told reporters.

The price revision does not cover diesel and kerosene, which current sells at 60.00 rupees and 48.00 rupees a litres respectively, he said.

Sri Lanka’s oil bill climbed up to around to 2.2 billion dollars last year, from 1.6 billion in 2005.

CPC shares two thirds of the local fuel market with Indian fuel retailer Lanka IOC commanding a third.

In 2006, world oil prices shot up to record peaks, hitting 78 dollars a barrel in July, amid unrest in the oil-rich Middle East