China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (“Sinopec”), China’s leading energy and chemical company, officially commenced operations at its newly established oil depot at Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka, successfully refueling its first ship on April 7. Impacting primarily Northeast Africa and South Asia’s oil market, Sinopec’s Hambantota Port oil depot will enhance its comprehensive bunkering service capabilities, as a significant boost in its continued effort to expand its bunkering activity around the world.
Located on 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. More than 1/2 of the world’s container freight takes this route, as does 1/3 of bulk shipments and 2/3 of oil shipments. Given its strategic location, Hambantota Port has emerged as a key port on the Belt and Road. 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 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. Prior to the start of the oil depot’s operations, Sinopec Fuel Oil overcame the adverse impact unleashed by the outbreak by quickly adopting cloud office solutions. During this time, 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.
Sinopec Fuel Oil is the fuel oil and bunkering arm of Sinopec Group. With the vision to build a world-class integrated bunkering services provider and clean energy supplier, Sinopec’s 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.