Foreign Flavour

Mar. 03 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is looking at the possibility of getting into a partnership with foreign governments to explore oil off the island’s western coast, a senior official said Friday. Two rounds of seismic surveys conducted by Norway’s TGS-NOPEC have shown that Sri Lanka may have oil and natural gas reserves in the Cauvery Basin off the island’s west coast.

The initial surveys highlighted the possibility of small hydrocarbon reserves in the northwestern Gulf of Mannar and Cauvery.

“We hope to call for competitive international exploration bids by end-May. If we are not happy with the response, we are looking at going into partnership with a foreign government,” A Gunasekera, Sri Lanka’s Petroleum Ministry’s Secretary told reporters.

If the government goes with the second plan, the island is looking at striking partnerships with China and India, he said.

Sri Lanka plans to invite investors through a competitive bidding process, to explore eight to nine blocks. Neighbouring India has already sought and got one block reserved through nomination.

TGS Nopec’s studies shows that Sri Lanka has potential reserves of about 10 – 50 million barrels.

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