Chinese oil major Sinopec Corporation on Thursday (9 April) said it officially commenced operations at its newly established oil depot at Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka, and had successfully refuelled its first ship on Tuesday, April 7.
Sinopec says this will primarily impact the Northeast African and South Asian oil market as the Hambantota Port oil depot will enhance the company’s comprehensive bunkering service capabilities, significantly boosting its continued efforts to expand its bunkering activity around the world.
Located at the southern tip of Sri Lanka, Hambantota Port is only ten nautical miles from the central Indian Ocean sea lane and is therefore of prime geographical importance, it adds.
According to the firm, more than half of the world’s container freight takes this route, as does a third of bulk shipments and two thirds of oil shipments. Given its strategic location, Hambantota Port has emerged as a key port on the Belt and Road, it notes.
In 2019, Sinopec Fuel Oil obtained rights for oil trading and operations as well as oil depot maintenance through global bidding and subsequently registered a wholly-owned subsidiary in Sri Lanka.
As the COVID-19 outbreak intensifies around the world and fuel consumption drops, Sinopec says it has been committed to implementing epidemic control measures and resuming work and production, heeding the Chinese government’s call to maintain stable foreign trade by expanding its overseas bunkering business.
Before the start of the oil depot’s operations, Sinopec notes it overcame the adverse impact unleashed by the outbreak by quickly adopting cloud office solutions.
Domestic experts provided remote support to inspect, approve, and jumpstart operations, enabling the port to successfully realize the first refueling mission at the new oil depot, it says.
Sinopec shares that its current fuel supply capacity covers more than 40 key ports domestically and overseas, supplying oil to more than 10,000 ships annually around the world.
Related: Sri Lanka: Hambantota International Port inaugurates bunkering services
Related: Sri Lanka embassy confirms Sinopec bunkering plans at Hambantota
Related: Sinopec establishes fuel oil sales unit at Hambantota, Sri Lanka
Photo credit: Sinopec
Published: 13 April, 2020
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