Cash-strapped A day after declaring that it had almost run out of petroleum, Sri Lanka on Sunday declared that it would be sending ministers to Russia and Qatar to try and get inexpensive oil.
In the interim, in order to conserve fuel, the government extended a two-week closure of non-essential public institutions until further notice, maintaining only a skeleton staff to deliver bare-bones services.
Following the acquisition of 90,000 tones of Siberian crude last month, Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera announced that two ministers will travel to Russia on Monday to discuss obtaining more oil.
Politicians have been asking the authorities to directly deal with the government of President Vladimir Putin, but that shipment was arranged through Coral Energy, a middleman with offices in Dubai.
To see if we can negotiate favorable terms, two ministers are travelling to Russia, and I’ll be travelling to Qatar the following day, Wijesekera told reporters in Colombo.
After numerous scheduled shipments were postponed indefinitely owing to “banking” issues, Wijesekera had stated on Saturday that Sri Lanka was essentially out of gasoline and diesel.
Wijesekera apologized for the situation and stated that fuel stocks were enough to cover demand for fewer than two days and were being set aside for important services.
The price of diesel increased by 15% to 460 rupees ($1.27) a liter and that of gasoline by 22% to 550 rupees on Sunday, according to the government-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation.