Lankan Oil Minister Meets Zanganeh

Lankan Oil Minister Meets ZanganehLankan Oil Minister Meets Zanganeh

Iran is interested in expanding energy ties with Sri Lanka, said Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh in a meeting with his Sri Lankan counterpart Chandima Weerakkody in Tehran on Sunday.

Zanganeh said Sri Lanka is a sound trade partner in the oil and petrochemical sector and that the two sides explored grounds for strengthening economic ties in post-sanctions era, Shana reported.

Pointing to the strategic location of the island nation in the Indian Ocean, Zanganeh noted that the two countries can collaborate closely in energy projects.

Weerakkody was due to tour Iran's South Pars gas and petrochemical facilities on Monday. South Pars is the world's largest gas field shared between Iran and the tiny state of Qatar in the Persian Gulf.

Stressing Tehran's enthusiasm to expand bilateral ties with Colombo, Zanganeh expressed the hope that trade difficulties that emerged in the past due to the international sanctions would be overcome.

"Tehran has invested in Sri Lankan oil refineries to help the country double its oil production capacity," he said.

According to reports, Sri Lanka's crude demand is around 50,000 barrels a day and the country's biggest oil refinery has roughly the same processing capacity.

Iran used to supply 40,000-45,000 bpd of oil to Sri Lanka, more than 90% of the its oil demand, but sanctions significantly curtailed Iran's footprint in the region and paved the way for other Persian Gulf producers, such as OPEC's de facto leader Saudi Arabia, to dominate the Lanka's crude market.

Sri Lanka reportedly purchased Iranian crude via third parties when sanctions were in place in order not to violate the sanctions that banned oil and trade deals with the Islamic Republic.