Sri Lankan energy minister warns that petrol stocks are about to dry up

The energy minister of Sri Lanka has issued a dire warning about fuel stocks in the face of its worst economic crisis for more than 70 years.

Sri Lankan energy minister warns that petrol stocks are about to dry up

The energy minister of Sri Lanka has issued a dire warning about fuel stocks in the face of its worst economic crisis for more than 70 years.

Kanchana Wijesekera stated that the nation had less petrol than it needed to meet regular demand on Sunday.

He said that the next shipment of petrol was not expected for longer than two weeks.

Sri Lanka stopped selling petrol and diesel for non essential vehicles last week because it couldn't pay imports such as fuel, food, and medicines.

Reporters were told by Mr Wijesekera that there was still 12,774 tonnes diesel and 4,061 tons of petrol in the country's reserves.

He said, "The next shipment of petrol is expected between 22nd and 23rd July."

Although a shipment of diesel is expected to arrive this weekend, Mr Wijesekera cautioned that the country doesn't have enough money to purchase planned fuel or crude oil imports.

He stated that Sri Lanka's central banks could not supply $125m to fuel purchases and $587m for scheduled shipments.

Mr Wijesekera said that $800m was owed to seven suppliers by the country for earlier purchases.

After Sri Lanka had banned fuel sales for private vehicles, it was implemented.

Experts believe that it is the first country in the world to stop selling petrol to the public since the 1970s oil crisis. This was when fuel was restricted in Europe and the US.

This 22-million-strong island nation is currently in its worst economic crisis since 1948 when it gained independence from the UK. It lacks sufficient foreign currency to purchase essential goods imports.

In a country where many people depend on motor vehicles for their livelihoods, acute shortages of fuel, food, and medicines have pushed up the cost to live to new heights.

A team from the International Monetary Fund met with Sri Lanka last Thursday to discuss a $3 billion (PS2.5bn), bailout agreement.

Although no agreement has been reached, the team stated in a statement that they had made "significant progress" in developing a macroeconomic policy package.

It stated that it had witnessed some of the hardships faced by Sri Lankan people currently, particularly the vulnerable and poor who are most affected by the crisis.

In an effort to obtain cheap oil supplies, the cash-strapped nation has sent officials to Russia and Qatar.

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