Sri Lanka still struggling to import Iranian crude

ECONOMYNET – Sri Lanka has still not been able to import crude oil from Iran, although international sanctions have been ostensibly been lifted, Petroleum Minister Chandima Weerakkody said.

"We still cannot make payments to Iran because of restrictions on banks," Weerakkody told members of Sri Lanka’s Foreign Correspondents Association.

He said Sri Lanka also owed Iran about $250 million for old oil shipments.

Sri Lanka’s state-run refinery, which is inefficient and produces large volumes of furnace oil, operates more efficiently with Iranian light crude, producing more light distillates.,

The refinery operates under the cover of import duties, effectively eating up pontential tax revenues to the state.

The refinery made about $2 in profits per barrel, Weerakkody said. But a more efficient plant with a hyro-cracker could make over $12.

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