Cash-strapped Sri Lanka takes Russian oil as fuel crisis persists


Sri Lanka is receiving Russian crude oil which it will use to make fuel as the bankrupt country faces crippling shortages of everything from gasoline to diesel.

Russian grade Siberian Light will be processed at Ceylon Petroleum’s refinery in Sapugaskanda, Chairman Sumith Wijesinghe said in a telephone interview. The country’s only refinery is set to receive crude today, allowing it to restart for the first time in more than two months, according to its energy and power minister in an earlier tweet.

Sri Lanka is the latest Asian country to accept Russian crude after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine prompted widespread condemnation and sanctions.

The Sapugaskanda refinery uses light Siberian crude, Wijesinghe said. It is one of many grades of crude our refinery can process, alongside Murban and Iranian light oil from Abu Dhabi, he said. It is still unclear how Sri Lanka will pay for the shipment.

“The Sapugaskanda refinery will begin operations for the first time since March 20 with the unloading of a crude oil shipment tomorrow,” Minister Kanchana Wijesekera tweeted on May 27. “The refinery will start producing fuel oil in six days.”

The Nissos Delos ship, carrying cargo of Siberian Light, has moved to a single mooring point from where it can unload, after being anchored nearby for a month, according to ship tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. . It was loaded at the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk on March 29 and is chartered by a trader called Coral Energy.

Sri Lanka has faced its worst financial crisis in the country’s independent history, with shortages of everything from food to oil.

Fuel supplies are so low that the government has told citizens not to queue for petrol at filling stations.

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