Necessity: Sri Lanka needs Oil and Russia is in the market to sell; how many more countries are buyers and soon it will be at substantial discounts based on the art of persuasion Putin style. Source: AL JAZEERA

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Cash-strapped Sri Lanka gets Russian oil to ease shortages

The 90,000-tonne consignment of Russian oil waited offshore for more than a month as Sri Lanka was unable pay for shipment.

People sit on empty Liquified Gas Cylinders (LPG) as they block a road to protest against shortage of fuel and cooking gas in Colombo on May 13, 2022 [AFP]
People sit on empty Liquified Gas Cylinders as they block a road to protest against shortage of fuel and cooking gas in Colombo, Sri Lanka on May 13, 2022 [AFP]

Published On 28 May 2022

Sri Lanka has taken delivery of a consignment of Russian oil to restart operations at the country’s only refinery, the energy minister said.

The delivery of Russian crude oil – which could soon be subject to a European embargo – had been waiting offshore for over a month as Sri Lanka was unable to raise the millions to pay for it, Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera told reporters on Saturday.

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Sri Lanka will pay $72.6m to buy the 90,000-tonne shipment of Russian oil, the minister said.

“I have reached out to multiple countries, including Russia, for support to import crude and other petroleum products,” Wijesekera said.

The 90,000-tonne consignment was ordered through Dubai-based Coral Energy, the minister said, adding that the shipment would facilitate restarting the country’s sole refinery, which has been closed since March 25.

“The next shipment will also be ordered from the same company. Another consignment will be needed within the next two weeks to keep the refinery running continuously,” he added.

Colombo is in talks with Moscow to arrange direct supplies of crude, coal, diesel and petrol despite US-led sanctions on Russian banks and a global diplomatic outcry over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“I have made an official request to the Russian ambassador for direct supplies of Russian oil,” Wijesekera told reporters.

“Crude alone will not fulfil our requirement, we need other refined [petroleum] products as well.”

Sri Lanka is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence, with shortages of fuel and other essentials making life extremely difficult for the island nation’s 22 million people.

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