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Sri Lanka testing Oman oil for crude purchases

Sat, Apr 14, 2012, 12:19 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 14, Colombo: As the deadline for the United States- imposed sanctions on Iran, Sri Lanka's major oil supplier, to take effect is looming, Sri Lanka is looking towards oil-rich Oman to purchase oil.

Sri Lankan officials are continuing discussions with Oman to purchase oil from that country, Secretary to the Ministry of Petroleum industries Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunge has told the state-run radio SLBC.

According to Dr. Samaratunge the international demand for crude oil has increased as many countries including China, India, Japan and Korea are looking for alternative sources to ease the dependence on Iranian oil.

The Secretary has said that due to the impending demand from these countries small countries such as Sri Lanka are facing competition for oil purchases.

According to Dr. Samaratunge Sri Lanka will be receiving crude samples of Oman oil this week for testing purposes.

Oman Oil Co (OOC) last month signed a memorandum of understanding with Sri Lanka's Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) to purchase oil from Oman.

Sri Lanka depends almost entirely on Iran for its crude oil supplies and the country's only refinery at Sapugaskanda that processes 50,000 barrels per day can only process Iranian crude.

An Omani delegation visited the Island last month had assured to help Sri Lanka to meet its gas and oil needs in the event of a fuel crisis brought on by the United States sanctions on Iran's oil exports.

Secretary Samaratunge has earlier said that Sri Lanka is also considering to purchase fuel from Saudi Arabia and Vietnam as well.

The U.S. sanctions on Iran oil are set to take effect on June 28. A European oil embargo, approved in January, will start in July.