Chinese fuel retailer Sinopec enters Sri Lankan market

Chinese energy company Sinopec on Friday signed a deal with the Sri Lankan Board of Investment (BOI) to operate retail fuel stations in the cash-strapped island nation for 20 years. Under the agreement, Sinopec invested USD 100 million into the project for the import, storage, and sale of fuel as the crisis-hit country attempts to reduce pressure on its meagre dollar reserves, the BOI said in a statement.

Under the deal, the Chinese firm will be given a 20-year licence to operate 150 fuel stations as well as set up 50 new fuel stations in Sri Lanka , the statement said.

The latest development effectively ended a market duopoly of state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corp and the Indian Oil Company’s local operation LIOC, making it the third player in Sri Lanka’s fuel retailing operations.

Sri Lanka is grappling with its worst financial crisis since independence from the British in 1948 with an acute shortage of fuel and essential commodities such as food and medicines.

Sinopec will provide a range of fuel products, petroleum jet fuel, and other diesel and petroleum items.

They also offer value-added services such as automatic car wash and car service facilities, department stores, convenience stores, internet cafes, automated teller machines, and food courts.

“Sinopec also plans to expand into new energy services like photovoltaic systems, electric charging stations, battery swapping, and other related offerings in the local market,” the statement said.

Sinopec is recognised as the largest oil and petrochemical products supplier, the second-largest oil and gas producer in China, the largest refining company, and the third-largest chemical company globally.

It also boasts the second-highest number of gas stations worldwide.

In 2021, the company secured the 5th position on Fortune’s Global 500 List.