Beware! Sri Lanka's Sapugaskanda refinery producing low quality petrol

A gas station featuring five en:Octane ratings, somewhere near the Missouri/Iowa border (can't remember...). Photo taken by Bobak Ha'Eri. September 3, 2006.
Sri Lanka's Sapugaskanda petroleum refinery is giving enough troubles and it is to be closed again since Monday, this time due to drop Octane rating of refined petrol.

The petrol refined there now is Octane 88 and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation cannot issue them to the local market since the Octane numbers of the locally marketed petrol are 90 and 95.

The Octane rating of petrol tells you how much the fuel can be compressed before it spontaneously ignites in the engine cylinder. Usually, the air and petrol mixed compartment in the engine is compressed to one eighth of capacity by the piston before the spark plugs ignite the mixture. Low Octane petrol may self ignite before the spark plug ignites. When gas ignites by compression rather than because of the spark from the spark plug, it causes knocking in the engine. Knocking can damage an engine,

Our studies showed that the lowest Octane number used in some countries is 87. However, high performance engines require high Octane petrol.I don't know if the engines of the most of the cars used in Sri Lanka can withstand a low Octane rating such as 87.

Ceylon Petroleum Corporation sources say that the reason for the loss of quality is using crude oil imported from Oman. The refinery used to refine petroleum imported from Iran before US embargoes against Iran disturbed the supply.

Reports say that the refinery has stored 3500 metric tons of low Octane petrol without issuing to the market.


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