Iran and Sri Lanka have begun new talks to resume oil shipments to the Asian country, head of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Roknoddin Javadi says, reported Press TV.

Javadi said Iran is ready to resume sales when sanctions are lifted on the Islamic Republic in early 2016. “Iran’s oil negotiations have started with Sri Lanka,” he said.

The Sri Lankan Petroleum Minister Susil Premajayantha explained that every 5,000 metric tons of Iran light yielded 1,250 tons of gasoline and 1,200 tons of gasoil. This ratio worked out to drop to 600 metric tons of gasoline and 1,400 tons of gasoil when Saudi light was used, which is also higher in sulfur content.

Speaking more generally Javadi explained that “All the countries are serious about purchasing crude oil from Iran,” adding “we believe we will have suitable conditions”.

He did admit however that resuming exports to traditional clients will be “time-consuming”.

According to The Nation newspaper Sri Lanka was dependent almost entirely on Iran for its crude oil supplies since the country’s only refinery at Sapugaskanda, a 50,000b/d facility, can only process Iranian crude.

The island nation had to discontinue its imports from Iran after June 2012 thanks to the sanctions regime over Iran’s nuclear program.

In April 2012, Sri Lanka signed an agreement with Oman Oil Co (OOC) to purchase oil from Oman and also sought crude purchases from Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.