Russian crude is supplied to Sri Lanka hit by the worst economic crisis in its history

Frappé par la pire crise économique de son histoire, le Sri Lanka se fait livrer du pétrole brut russe

The state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) refinery was shut down in March following a cash crunch from Sri Lanka that barred the government from funding its imports, including crude.

Energy Minister Kanchana said Russian crude had been waiting for over a month from the port of the capital Colombo as the country was unable to raise $75 million for delivery.

Despite sanctions on Russian banks and diplomatic outcry over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Colombo is currently in talks with Moscow to arrange direct deliveries of crude, coal, diesel and gasoline.

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

“Our requirements will not be met by crude oil alone, we also need other refined (petroleum) products,” he said.

About 90,000 tonnes of Siberian light crude will supply the refinery in Sri Lanka, a cargo received on credit from Coral Energy, a Dubai-based intermediary.

Mr Wijesekera specified that the refinery already owes $735 million to its suppliers.

According to him, Siberian crude is not a perfect fit for the refinery, which is optimized for Iranian light crude, but no other supplier was willing to lend to the country.

EU leaders are meeting on Monday to try to negotiate a new round of sanctions, including an oil embargo against Russia.

Russian oil is already under US sanctions.

In Sri Lanka, motorists form long lines in front of petrol stations, waiting for hours or even days to receive small amounts of petrol and cooking gas.

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Its population of 22 million also faces severe shortages of imported food and pharmaceuticals, record inflation and prolonged daily power outages.

Earlier this month, anti-government protests turned into riots, in which nine people were killed and several others were injured.

Protests outside the office of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Colombo demanding his resignation over his economic mismanagement entered its 50th day on Saturday.

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