South Asian nation's oil minister says diesel 'was not up to the required specifications'
Sri Lanka has returned a cargo of 40,000 tonnes of diesel supplied by the Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) because it did not meet agreed specifications, the country's oil minister said on Thursday.
The Dubai-based firm had been take off its approved supplier list, said Oil Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa.
"The diesel supplied was not up to the required specifications," Yapa said.
The minister said, according to independent test reports, the specifications were met at the loading point.
"But when it arrived, the required specifications were not met. So we returned the cargo and blacklisted the supplier."
A spokesman for ENOC in Dubai did not immediately comment.
Sri Lanka has had to import more refined products after Western sanctions on Iran have hit imports of the main crude used for the country's only refinery, which has a 50,000 barrel-per-day capacity.
Susantha Silva, the managing director of state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (Ceypetco), said the return of the ENOC cargo would not cause scarcity of fuel.
"We will buy another emergency cargo. The country is not running dry and we have enough," Silva told Reuters.
Off specific and sub-standard refined fuels have been blamed for damaging Sri Lankan cars in the past few years. The country withheld payment for a 20,000-tonne cargo of gasoline supplied by ENOC in July 2011 after motorists said petrol supplied by the firm was damaging their vehicles.
Minister Yapa said ENOC had been put back on the supplier list after it paid damages over the consignment.
In August, Ceypetco took Vitol off its supplier list after it said the trader had supplied 20,000 tonnes of sub-standard diesel. Vitol denied the allegations and said the cargo in question was tested in accordance with international standards by CPC inspectors before it was discharged.