Interview: Sri Lanka Petroleum Act to parliament by July

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May 11, 2016 (LBO) – The new Petroleum Resources Development Act is expected to bring in far-reaching changes and will be enacted soon, a senior Sri Lankan government official told Lanka Business Online.

“The bill is currently awaiting certification from the Attorney General’s department prior to being taken up in Cabinet and is expected to be in Parliament in the next two to three months,” Saliya Wickramasuriya, director general of the Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat, said.

“The structure of the new bill is such that it will be difficult for any one individual or organization to exert undue influence on the industry, so that stakeholders can expect a fair and objective treatment.”

Now, Wickramasuriya says we are moving more things from the act into supporting regulation and supporting petroleum resource agreements.

“We are keeping the statutory framework (those rules included in the Act itself) light, and strengthening Regulations under the Act by introducing them in detail there,” he said.

An example is that the Act will assure an investor of fiscal stability, but the Petroleum Resource Agreement (PRA) entered into under the Act will contain the details of how this will be done.

Also, environmental rules have been moved into both environmental regulations as well as the PRA.

This makes the Act shorter and easier to digest. It is also somewhat flexible in methodology, which is useful as we are still in the nascent stages of developing the industry, and do not want to be over-prescriptive, he said.