TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Mohammed Reza Nematzadeh is scheduled to pay a visit to Sri Lanka on Friday to finalize the oil and petrochemical agreements signed by the two sides.
Nematzadeh, who is also the President of the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC), is due attend talks with Sri Lankan officials to finalize the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract of the billion dollar Iranian-funded improvement and expansion project for the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation-owned refinery at Sapugaskanda.
The refinery at Sapugaskanda was constructed in 1969.
The Sapugaskanda Refinery quality enhancement and expansion project, estimated to cost nearly US$ 1.1 billion is one of Iran’s top project aid to Sri Lanka expected to make Sri Lanka self-sufficient in refining all its oil requirements within the country in addition to meeting over 75 per cent of the island’s need to liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), Bitumen, Jet Oil, Kerosene and Fuel oil, all bi-products of petroleum refinery.
The refinery produces only 10 per cent of the island’s need to the said products.
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Iran M.M. Zuhair said that Nematzadeh is one of those who had worked hard to facilitate this project for Sri Lanka, preceding the visit by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Iran in November last year.
Since then the Iranian deputy oil minister has followed up on this project at every stage at the order of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who visited Sri Lanka, in May, the envoy added.
Another important project which Iran is funding is the US$ 450 million Uma Oya hydro power and irrigation project, the Ambassador pointed out.
The Iranian deputy minister is also scheduled to call on President Rajapaksa and will have business discussions on the EPC contract with Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Development Minister A.H.M. Fowzie.