Govt invites int’l players to explore oil and gas here



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by Maheesha Mudugamuwa


 


Petroleum Resources Development Minister Chandima Weerakkody said the government had invited oil companies to invest in the appraisal and development of gas discoveries in the M2 offshore block in the Mannar Basin.


Weerakkody told the media in Colombo that the investors had been called for the appraisal and development of gas discoveries in the M2 offshore block in the Mannar Basin according to international oil exploration rules and regulations.


Minister Weerakkody said the M4, M5 and M6 would also be opened for international investors in the future and necessary arrangements in that regard had been made by the Ministry.


According to the government plan, the assemblage of natural gas in the offshore blocks in the Mannar Basin would commence within the next two to three years, the Minister noted.


The government had been compelled to look for fresh investors to develop a gas block in the Mannar Basin off its northwest coast, vacated by Cairn India, which pulled out of an exploration project in 2015 as oil prices plunged.


Sri Lanka produces no oil and is dependent on imports, but Cairn India Ltd discovered gas in the area in 2011. The government claims that seismic data show the potential for more than 1 billion barrels of oil under the sea in a 30,000 sq km area of the Mannar Basin.


In 2016, a French multinational oil giant, Total, signed a Joint Study Agreement (JSA) with Sri Lanka to begin offshore oil exploration off the eastern coast with a total investment of USD 25 million


Minister Weerakkody said many leading petroleum companies in the world including Petronas and Mobil had also expressed interest in oil exploration in Sri Lanka.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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