China’s Sinopec to operate Sri Lanka’s Hambantota oil tank farm
Wednesday April 17, 2019 12:22
ECONOMYNEXT- China’s Sinopec Fuel Oil Sales Co. Limited (SFO) has won a tender to operate a bunker oil tank farm in the Hambantota Port in southern Sri Lanka, officials said.
“The partnership with Sinopec, who are one of the largest providers of bunkers worldwide, underlines our goal of becoming a bunkering hub for the entire region," Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG) Chief Executive Ray Ren said in a statement.
Bunkering operations are expected to begin the fourth quarter of 2019.
SFO will provide high grades of marine fuels compliant with the IMO 2020 Low Sulphur Rule as well as other ancillary facilities to marine liners calling and passing through Hambantota.
Ren said that HIPG aims to take advantage of the port’s location, which is just 10 nautical miles away from the main east-west sea route which is used by more than 31,000 vessels annually.
HIPG Chief Operating Officer Tissa Wickremasinghe said 23 parties from Singapore, China, India, Dubai and Sri Lanka had purchased the tender documents and participated in a pre-bid meeting.
He said the tender process was transparent and in accordance with international standards.
SFO was awarded the tender for its global network and terminal operation experience, Wickremasinghe said.
Headquartered in Beijing, SFO’s parent Sinopec Group is the largest oil and petrochemical products supplier in China.
SFO is present in all main Chinese ports, and operates in more than 40 worldwide.
It owns and operates 25 in-use oil depots with a storage capacity of more than 1 million cubic meters and more than 100 oil barges.
SFO’s main business scope includes fuel oil, distillate products, LNG, LPG, asphalt, chemical products, ship repair and marine accessories, tank farm design and construction.
“Due to their global networking strength, Sinopec will be in a position to offer competitive pricing, opening doors for local parties hoping to provide bunkering services," Ren said.
Ancillary services such as sludge removal and fresh water supplies will also be undertaken, he said.
"We plan to expand the port’s capacity — in fact we estimate the volume to surpass 1 Million TPA (tons per annum) in the space of five years, bringing us closer to our goal of establishing Hambantota Port as a bunkering hub in South Asia," he said.
The Hambantota Port oil tank farm has a capacity of 80,000 metric tonnes, of which 20,000 metric tonnes have been reserved for aviation fuel for the Mattala airport.
State-owned Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), which operated the Hambantota Port till end-2017, had conducted bunkering operations from June 2014 till February-2015.
The SLPA had sold 53,486 metric tonnes of bunker fuel in 2014 and 15,577 metric tonnes in 2015, at a loss of over 16 million US dollars, leading the then new government to halt operations. (Colombo/Apr17/2019-SB)