Sri Lanka is about to buy oil from Iraq after the United States imposed new sanctions on Iran, the island’s main provider of crude oil, was reported to media by cited a senior official.
The US Senate unanimously granted new economic sanctions recently intended at further crippling Iran’s energy, shipping and port sectors, a year after Congress passed tough constraints against Tehran.
Sanctions have made it tough to obtain oil from Iran, prompting Colombo to turn to Baghdad for oil purchase.
The foreign ministry secretary Karunatillaka told to the media that oil in northern Iraq is similar to Iranian natural and could be refined (domestically), thus reducing costs on the refined products’ import.
He also said that the authorities were working out the detailed aspects. Sri Lanka’s petroleum authorities were not immediately available for comment.
Sri Lanka does have trust on Iran for 92 percent of its natural oil requirements.
Recently, Sri Lanka has announced that it will set aside two billion rupees ($15.38 million) owed to Iran for oil imports and will put the money into use by financing an irrigation scheme on the island, which is funded by Tehran.
Iran had promised some $450 million for the project in the year 2008 but implementation has been loose due to a delay in transferring funds from Tehran due to the sanctions.
The US said it introduced the latest sanctions out of concern that Iran was pushing ahead with its nuclear weapons drive in spite of the earlier sanctions that had been hailed as the hardest-ever against the Islamic republic.
Tehran insists its nuclear program is only for civilian use and rejects to discard its uranium enrichment activities.