Minister unveils plans to produce lubricant oil locally

By Saman Indrajith

The government has plans to produce lubricant oil locally and a Cabinet paper has been submitted to implement the project in due course, Petroleum Resources Development Minister Chandima Weerakkody told Parliament yesterday.

Responding to a query raised by UNP Matara District MP Buddhika Pathirana, Minister Weerakkody said that "the government intended to manufacture tar locally from imported crude oil after a new refinery is constructed as the existing refinery was not sufficient to meet the demand.

He said Sri Lanka currently imports crude oil from the United Arab Emirates. Crude oil had been imported. from Iran, Saudi Arabia and Oman during previous years. In 2013 Sri Lanka imported 6.5 million crude oil barrels at as cost of US$ 717.51 million from Oman and 6.34 million barrels at a cost of US$ 697.30 million from the UAE.

In 2014, the country imported 3.38 million barrels of crude oil worth US$ 358.40 million from Oman and 10.7 million barrels of crude oil worth US$ 1,083.76 million from the UAE.

Sri Lanka imported Iranian Lite type crude oil from Iran before the US sanctions. Thereafter, Sri Lanka commenced importing crude oil from Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE.

The minister responded in the negative to a query whether Sri Lanka imported oil from Iran through a third party.

The Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery needs 46,000 barrels of crude oil per day, the minister said.

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