sri lanka: Money-strapped Sri Lanka will get Russian oil to ease shortages – Occasions of India

COLOMBO: Money-strapped Sri Lanka took supply Saturday of Russian oil — which may quickly be topic to a European embargo — to restart operations on the nation’s solely refinery, the vitality minister mentioned. The island nation is struggling its worst financial meltdown since independence, with shortages of gas and different very important items making life depressing for its 22 million folks. The state-run Ceylon Petroleum Company (CPC) refinery was shuttered in March within the wake of Sri Lanka’s overseas trade crunch, which left the federal government unable to finance crude imports. The Russian crude supply had been ready offshore of the capital Colombo’s port for over a month because the nation was unable to boost $75 million to pay for it, vitality minister Kanchana Wijesekera mentioned. Colombo can be in talks with Moscow to rearrange direct provides of crude, coal, diesel and petrol regardless of US-led sanctions on Russian banks and a diplomatic outcry over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “I’ve made an official request to the Russian ambassador for direct provides of Russian oil,” Wijesekera advised reporters in Colombo. “Crude alone is not going to fulfil our requirement, we’d like different refined (petroleum) merchandise as nicely.” Round 90,000 tonnes of Siberian gentle crude will probably be despatched to Sri Lanka’s refinery after the cargo was acquired on credit score from Dubai-based middleman Coral Vitality. Wijesekera mentioned Ceylon Petroleum Company (CPC) was already in arrears of $735 million to suppliers and nobody got here ahead to even bid for its oil tenders. He added that the Siberian grade was not a perfect match for the refinery, which is optimised for Iranian gentle crude, however no different provider was keen to increase credit score. Sri Lanka will nonetheless name for recent provide tenders in two weeks earlier than the inventory of Siberian gentle runs out, Wijesekera mentioned. The Sapugaskanda refinery on Colombo’s outskirts will resume work in about two days. European Union leaders are assembly on Monday in an effort to barter a recent spherical of sanctions in opposition to Russia over the Ukraine battle, together with an oil embargo. Russian oil is already topic to a US embargo and its barrels have traded at a steep low cost from worldwide benchmarks, which have risen considerably because the battle started. Sri Lanka’s financial disaster has seen lengthy queues of motorists outdoors fuel stations, ready hours and typically even days for scant provides of petrol and cooking fuel. Its individuals are additionally grappling with acute shortages of imported meals and prescribed drugs, together with document inflation and prolonged every day blackouts. Anti-government protests erupted into riots earlier this month, leaving 9 folks useless and lots of extra wounded. An illustration outdoors President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s workplace in Colombo demanding his resignation over the federal government’s financial mismanagement entered its fiftieth day Saturday.