Oct 18, Colombo: Minister of Petroleum Resource Development Arjuna Ranatunga says a project to set up pipelines to deliver aircraft fuel to Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake from the Muthurajawela storage tanks will be expedited.
Speaking at a progress review meeting of the Ministry of Petroleum Resource Development Minister Ranatunga the pipeline was to set up along the Hamilton Canal to Pamunugama via Nupe, Bopitiya and from there along the Negombo-Colombo road to Katunayake.
However, the Minister said it was found that the setting up the pipeline on that route was very difficult since it would have to cross the road. Therefore, the ministry has focused on setting it up along the Colombo-Negombo Expressway and a feasibility study conducted to explore the possibility of laying the pipeline along the expressway was satisfactory.
The Minister noted that any expressway in the world would have a service corridor but the expressways in Sri Lanka have been built without future planning. However there is still opportunity to build a service corridor, the Minister added. He said the project will be implemented by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation.
The provision of fuel for aircraft in Sri Lanka is done entirely by the CPC and it is also the main source of foreign exchange for the Petroleum Corporation, the Minister pointed out.
The main center for fuel bunkering for the aircraft is located at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake. The fuel is being transported by train from the oil refinery at Kolonnawa. In some cases, bowsers are also used to transport propellant fuel.
The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) however has made the observation that operations at Kollonnawa alone to transport fuel will not be adequate to meet the daily demand in the future.
The current daily jet fuel volume of 1.6 million liters is estimated to increase to 2 million liters per day by 2020, and by the year 2030, it could be 3 million to 5 million liters.
Accordingly, in addition to Kolonnawa, the oil refinery at Muthurajawela also hopes to supply fuel to Katunayake.
According to the earlier estimates, the length of the pipelines from the Muthurajawela to Katunayake airport was 23 kilometers. If laid along the expressway the length is reduced by 3.5 kilometers.
Furthermore, pumping fuel from Muthurajawela to Katunayake will generate electricity savings of over 200,000 kilowatt hours per year, the Minister pointed out.
At present, the Katunayake Air Port is rated a 'good' in international ratings and with the new project, it is hoped that the ratings will be able to go up to the 'Excellent' in the future.
As a result of the reduction in air transportation costs, the CPC will be able to reduce the cost of fuel prices and provide competitive aviation services in the region including India, the Minister said.