Sri Lanka eyes Iran oil after nuclear deal

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka is hoping to be able to buy crude oil from Iran again if sanctions are lifted following the nuclear deal with Western powers last week, an official said.

"We hope our refinery will get Iranian crude again," said Minister of Power and Energy Patali Champika Ranawaka, referring to the agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting economic sanctions against the country.

"It will help lessen our financial burden in the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC)."

The island’s sole refinery run by the state-owned CPC is tuned to refine Iranian crude and the sanctions have forced the company to look at other origins and resort to blends in order to get the best option for refining.

Ranawaka said Sri Lanka spends about five billion US dollars annually to import fossil fuel, accounting for almost half of export earnings.

The United States has said that sanctions on Iran would have to be phased out gradually under the nuclear pact reached between Iran, the United States and five other major powers.

The timing and scope of sanctions relief must be hammered out before the end-of-June deadline for a final accord.

Iran has maintained that sanctions would be lifted immediately once an accord is signed.

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