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Singapore — Sri Lanka's state-owned Ceypetco is planning to increase its jet fuel imports over the next two years in order to meet rising domestic demand from its aviation sector, data from the company's procurement plan seen by S&P Global Platts revealed.

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According to the data, Ceypetco will boost its jet fuel imports by 38.33% on the year to 593,440 mt in 2021, and a further 7.14% to 635,820 mt in 2022.

"As refinery output is not sufficient to cater to the country's demand, therefore, CPC [Ceylon Petroleum Corp.] has to import refined petroleum products to cover the total demand of Sri Lanka," the company said in its procurement document seen by Platts on June 18.

Ceypetco also projected that the daily yield of refined products from the refinery in 2022 would be lower as compared to 2020 and 2021, as the company intends to schedule a full refinery shutdown for maintenance every two years. At present, the 50,000 b/d Sapugaskanda refinery meets around 30%-35% of Sri Lanka's domestic demand for oil products, with the balance met by imports from Ceypetco and Lanka IOC, market sources said.

Meanwhile, in addition to its future procurement plans, Ceypetco also provided details of its term purchases for jet fuel this year. The company's 2019-2020 term cycle for combination volumes of gasoil and jet fuel is currently underway, with UAE-based MENA Energy listed as the term supplier. Ceypetco has plans to issue another combination term tender seeking 500 ppm sulfur gasoil and jet fuel later in 2020, with up to eight shipments planned under this contract.

Spot tenders for the purchase of jet fuel have been few and far between, with market sources saying this is likely due to the demand destruction wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, which decimated the aviation sector earlier this year with many planes being grounded.

Platts last reported March 9 that Ceypetco canceled a tender seeking 130,000 barrels of 500 ppm sulfur gasoil and 160,000 barrels of jet fuel for delivery into Dolphin Tanker Berth and SPM Muhurajawela, Colombo, over March 31-April 1, due to poor demand.

Separately, the Sri Lankan government has announced that it may open its international airports before August 1 as signs of community transmission of the pandemic appears to have abated since late April, local media reported.

As of 0500 GMT June 19, data from Johns Hopkins University showed Sri Lanka has 1,947 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections, with 11 deaths.

"We will be ready to receive all international tourists into the country after the repatriation of all Sri Lankan citizens stranded overseas is concluded," Prasanna Ranatunga, Sri Lanka's Tourism and Aviation minister, was quoted as saying on June 15.

UAE's Emirates -- the world's largest long haul flights operator -- and Etihad Airways are planning to resume outgoing passenger flights from Colombo to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, respectively, from June 20.