China’s Sinopec wins bid to operate Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port oil bunkering facility

The Hambantota International Port (HIP) recently awarded a tender to China’s Sinopec Fuel Oil Sales Co. Limited for oil trading works and the operation and maintenance of their oil tank terminal along with associated facilities.

Bunkering being an important part of the marine services portfolio offered by Hambantota International Port (HIP), the oil tank terminal in partnership with Sinopec Fuel Oil Sales Co. Limited 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.

“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. Plans are already in the pipeline to expand our tank capacity in the near future,” says Ray Ren, CEO of Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG), adding that HIP intends taking maximum advantage of its location, just 10 nautical miles from the main sea route connecting east and west, on which more than 31,000 vessels ply each year.

A HIPG media release on Tuesday said 23 interested parties from Singapore, China, India, Dubai and Sri Lanka, had purchased tender documents and participated in the pre bid meeting, held at the Port.

Tissa Wickremasinghe, COO of HIPG says that the tender process was transparent and in accordance with international tender evaluation processes and practices. He said that Sinopec was awarded the tender for its global network and terminal operation experience. “We believe this cooperation would help us to provide cost-competitive and high-quality products as well as effective and safe services to our customers.”

Han Xueling, Deputy General Manager and Chief Accountant of Sinopec Fuel Oil Sales Corporation Limited said: “With our capability as the largest oil product supplier in China, we considered it our responsibility to start the production and supply of low Sulphur fuel (LSFO) and MGO. Hambantota International Port is one of the many world ports, we would be supplying marine fuel to in 2019, and we guarantee the supply of VLSFO to service all Indian Ocean vessels. We look forward to a long-term partnership with HIP who we consider as a strategic hub in South Asia.”

Headquartered in Beijing, the Sinopec Group is the largest oil and petrochemical products supplier in China. Sinopec Fuel Oil Sales Company, covers all key ports in China’s coastal areas, and operates in more than 40 overseas key ports worldwide.

With its wide network and expertise, the Sinopec Fuel Oil Sales Company would promote Hambantota Port as another marine fuel supply center for their global clients, to fully utilize the advantage of the strategic location of Hambantota Port.

According to current trend Low Sulfur Fuel Oil (LSFO) with 0.5% sulfur content, will be the main marine fuel choice in 2020. Sinopec with their vast resources, will guarantee the supply of LSFO and MGO in Hambantota, enabling the port to serve all vessels passing the Indian Ocean, by Q4 of 2019.

“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. 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. HIP will also be looking at a number of associated services such as FW supply, sludge removals etc., which are already in the pipeline,” Ray Ren, CEO of HIPG added.

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