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Plea for steady supply of crude for Sapugaskanda refinery

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Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery

By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery had produced close to 5,000 metric tonnes of low-quality petrol as a result of restarting operations after an extended stoppage, President of the Petroleum General Employees Union Ashoka Ranwala said yesterday.

Ranwala said that a ship carrying Siberian blend crude oil had arrived in Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Power and Energy must pay for the shipment immediately to ensure that the Oil Refinery could carry on without a stoppage.

“We would also ask them to pay without waiting until we have to pay demurrage. The refinery will run out of crude in 10 days and this shipment must be immediately cleared to prevent another stoppage,” he said.

Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery produced high-grade naphtha and furnace oil and those products fed a number of industries, he said.

Ranwala said around 5,000 metric tonnes of low octane petrol were in storage. They were 82 to 83 octane petrol, he said.

“This happened because we shut the refinery for some time. We have repeatedly said that refining is a complex process. You can’t shut down refineries for months, restart and get top quality products immediately. Even a coffee vending machine takes a while to produce coffee with the right blend,” he said.

The world crude prices are dropping and Sri Lanka must use this opportunity to buy crude and ensure that the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery remained operational.

“Sapugaskanda has so much potential. We produce high quality petrol, diesel, and other by-products like jet fuel. There is a lot of demand for these, and we can earn money by selling them. The government is trying to show that the oil refinery is a white elephant,” he said.



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Embassy officer arrested at BIA remanded

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The Embassy official who was attached to the Sri Lanka Embassy in Oman who is accused of being involved in a human trafficking racket was arrested by officers of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and remanded till the 13th of December when he was produced before the Colombo Chief Magistrate

The official was arrested on his arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) this morning (29 November).

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Easter Sunday terror attack suspect hacked to death

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By Norman Palihawadane

A 38-year-old Easter Sunday terror attack suspect was hacked to death yesterday morning (28) in Mattakkuliya.

The victim, Mohamed Badurdeen Mohamed Harnas, was a resident of Safiya Avenue, Mattakkuliya, police said.

A suspect in the Easter Sunday terror attacks, he had been released on bail.

The suspect was rushed to the National Hospital, Colombo, after three individuals, who arrived in a car around 10. 00 am, attacked him.

Two persons attacked the man while the other was keeping the car engine running, according to eyewitnesses. The attackers thereafter fled in the same car.

Harnas was pronounced dead on admission to hospital.

Further investigations in this regard are currently underway.

The victims family members said that Harnas had been taken into custody, following the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks, but later released as there was no evidence of his involvement in terrorist activities.

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Rail service between Mahawa and Jaffna to be suspended for five months

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Transport Minister Bandula Gunawardena told Parliament yesterday that the railway services between Mahawa and Jaffna will be suspended for a period of five months in 2023.

The Minister said that operations will be suspended from January 15, 2023.

The Minister said it was to repair work on the railway line.

He said so in response to a question raised by Vanni District MP Selvam Adaikalanathan.

“We are focusing our attention on the request made by you. We have to halt railway operations between Mahawa and Jaffna for five months from January 2023. Train services have been continuously operating to Jaffna, but now we have faced a situation as we have not been able to carry out any repair work thus far,” the Minister said.

Assuring that this issue can be rectified in five months, Minister Gunawardane said that, thereafter, a good railway service can be provided for this route.

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