Such a reduction meant Sri Lanka would not face a total ban immediately, Premajayantha told the newspaper.
Earlier, a total ban was expected to come into force from June this year fuelling fears that the country may face a serious fuel crisis, the newspaper said.
Sri Lanka imports as much as 93 per cent of its annual crude oil requirements from Iran.
“The concession to reduce crude oil imports only by 15 percent was a result of the appeal made to the US earlier,” Premajayantha said.
The newspaper quoted a spokesman for the US embassy in Colombo as saying: “The US is in active discussions with the Government of Sri Lanka about the plans to reduce imports of Iranian crude oil,” but said he did not elaborate on the concession reported to have been given.
The Sunday Times newspaper also quoted Premajayantha as saying the government was now looking for other sources for its crude oil supplies with talks underway with Saudi Arabia and Oman.Last week the Oman Oil Company (OOC) and the state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) signed a memorandum of understanding in energy related activities during a visit to Colombo by an Omani delegation.
Premajayantha said this will be followed by a top level technical delegation from Sri Lanka visiting Oman next week to look at the feasibility of importing crude oil, the quantities and to work out other modalities before entering into any buying agreement.
The CPC has also entered into another agreement with Vietnam’s Viet Petrol Co. Ltd to buy refined petroleum from that country, the newspaper said.