Govt. delists world’s largest oil trader Vitol over inferior diesel fiasco

Monday, 6 August 2012 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: State-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) on Saturday took Vitol, the world’s largest oil trading firm, off its supplier list, believing diesel supplied by the firm had damaged vehicles.

Vitol rejected the allegation and said the cargo in question was tested in accordance with international standards by CPC inspectors before it was discharged.

Petroleum Minister Susil Premajayantha said around 150 mostly State-owned vehicles, such as buses, had been affected by the diesel, while local media reported around 15 train engines had been damaged. The Ministry called for an investigation by a three-member panel before delisting Vitol. “The Board of CPC had decided to delist the Vitol group of companies who had supplied 20,000 metric tons of diesel,” L.E. Susantha Silva, Managing Director of CPC, told Reuters.

“The Board will decide further action against the company after receiving lab reports and recommendations of the three-member committee.”

The CPC lifted a two-year ban on Vitol in October after blacklisting the Switzerland-based firm’s Vitol Asia Pte. Ltd., Singapore, claiming that it supplied a fuel cargo contaminated with lubricating oil.

Vitol Group of Companies in a statement said it strongly rejects the claim that the cargo of diesel in question was responsible for the alleged damage.

“Contamination could have occurred at any of a number of points between the terminal and the end consumers. We assume the investigation taking place will test every possible point of contamination to avoid further problems.”

It also said it saw no evidence to link the cargo supplied by Vitol with the reported incidents. “The cargo supplied by Vitol came from a larger parcel of cargo which has been supplied to a number of Vitol’s customers in the region, where it has been consumed without incident and found to be fully on specification.”

Vitol said it had sent a respected independent expert to Sri Lanka to assist in the investigation.

Sri Lanka’s opposition political parties and powerful trade unions have blamed the Government for importing the contaminated diesel.

In July last year, Sri Lanka withheld payment for a 20,000 MT consignment of gasoline supplied by Dubai-based Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) after motorists claimed petrol supplied by the firm was damaging their vehicles.