Sri Lanka returns off-spec gasoline cargo from PetroChina

COLOMBO, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka has returned 30,000 tonnes of gasoline supplied by PetroChina Singapore as the quality of the cargo did not meet specifications, state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (Ceypetco) said on Wednesday.

Susantha Silva, Ceypetco's managing director, said the firm had rejected 90-octane gasoline from PetroChina Singapore, but accepted 5,000 tonnes of 95-octane gasoline and 5,000 tonnes of diesel from the Singapore subsidiary of PetroChina.

"We have decided to reject the oil stock as it failed one of the 15 parameters of the octane specifications," Silva said in a statement, adding that PetroChina's Singapore subsidiary has been asked to resupply the cargo.

PetroChina Singapore could not be immediately reached for a comment.

Sri Lanka has been forced to boost imports of refined oil products as Western sanctions aimed at Iran have curbed the flow of crude from the OPEC member. Iranian oil is the main feedstock used by Sri Lanka's sole refinery, which has a 50,000 barrel-per-day capacity.

Off-specific and sub-standard refined fuels have been blamed for damaging Sri Lankan vehicles in the past few years.

The country withheld payment for a 20,000-tonne cargo of gasoline supplied by Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) in July 2011 after motorists said petrol supplied by the firm was damaging their vehicles.

Ceypetco in June took ENOC off its approved supplier list after the firm shipped 40,000 tonnes of off-spec diesel.

Last year, Ceypetco also 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 Ceypetco inspectors before it was discharged. (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez in Colombo, additional reporting by Jessica Jaganathan in Singapore; Editing by Himani Sarkar)