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Sri Lanka: No fuel shortage due to U.S. oil sanctions on Iran

(Xinhua)

09:14, January 19, 2012

COLOMBO, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's government has assured that there will be no fuel shortage as a result of U.S. sanctions on Iran's fuel imports, a minister said here on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka's Petroleum Minister Susil Premajayantha told media that the government has already begun discussions with Oman and Saudi Arabia as well as stockpiling fuel to ensure that there will be no shortage if the country falls under U.S. sanctions for importing oil from Iran.

Iran is Sri Lanka's largest oil supplier and the country's only oil refinery was built to handle Iran's high-sulphur and high- density crude oil, which means that sourcing from other destinations could be problematic.

Iran and Sri Lanka has had strong diplomatic ties since President Mahinda Rajapaksa took over, but U.S. sanctions could mean that the country will have to consider alternatives.

However, Premajayantha insists that this is not an issue and oil can be sourced from other locations. He also feels that the six month grace period before implementation of the new sanctions would provide enough leeway for the government to find a solution.

However there have been no clear alternatives proposed and Sri Lanka spends around 4 billion U.S dollars on oil imports annually.

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