Sri Lanka contacts Russian firm for crude oil: Minister
- Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has reached out to several companies suggested by Russia's embassy in Colombo to buy crude oil, Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said on Sunday, in an attempt by the debt-ridden island nation to get oil on credit to keep its only oil refinery running.
However, the Russian state companies are reportedly giving crude at lower prices to countries that can afford to pay.
Sri Lanka's sole refinery is now running with the last Siberian crude shipment.
The economic crisis has prompted an acute shortage of essential items like food, medicine, cooking gas and other fuel, toilet paper, and even matches, with Sri Lankans being forced to wait in lines lasting hours outside stores to buy fuel and cooking gas.
Sri Lanka's oil bill has risen to USD 550 million a month by June 2022 and the energy ministry has been talking to the central bank to get dollars.
The central bank has run out of reserves after two years of money printing but the agency is yet to shift to a free float which will balance outflows to inflows.
"For crude oil also we have contacted several countries," Wijeskera said, adding that he had discussions with embassies of several other countries.
"Even though we have requested firms, due to the financial situation and the ratings of the banks in the country most companies do not agree to get into loan schemes to get oil,'' he said.
India has helped Sri Lanka with thousands of tonnes of diesel and petrol, apart from food and medical supplies, to help ease the acute fuel shortage in the debt-ridden island nation.
With the Sapugaskanda refinery being reopened, the available crude stock is being used in the minimum amount to continue the operations of the refinery.
The subcommittee also permitted the import of another four ships of crude oil, Wijesekara said.
"We can use them in the refinery to increase the current capacity. Until then we are keeping the production at a minimum level," he said.
According to Wijesekara, currently, around 350 MT Petrol and 600 MT Diesel are being produced by the refinery along with furnace oil and LP gas.
"A ship needs around USD 80 million. We have got one company through the tender process for three ships," Wijesekara said, adding that he had given permission for three other companies to import crude oil.
He added that only one company has however agreed to export two ships on June 28 and 29.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)