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Sri Lanka offshore oil bidding round next month
15 Nov, 2012 19:15:47
Nov 15, 2012 (LBO) - Sri Lanka will offer up to ten offshore oil blocks in a bidding round that may start as early as next month, Saliya Wickramasuriya director general of the island's petroleum exploration office said.
Blocks will be offered around the island ranging from the Western coast and curving over the north towards the East, in the Mannar basin and part of the Cauvery basin that is in Sri Lankan waters.

Wickramasuriya said "eight to ten" blocks may be offered in the bidding round that could be kept open till around April to May 2013.

Sri Lanka's Petroleum Development Secretariat has also called for offers to re-process existing data and gather new information from aerial surveys on a 'multi client' basis from specialist firms.

Wickramasuriya said responses had been received and the company would be selected soon.

Under 'multi client' process, the company will sell the data to prospective bidders.

Sri Lanka has also found evidence of petroleum off the Southern Hambantota coast, but that block may be offered following further surveys.

India's Cairn Energy has found evidence of gas and condensate in two wells dug in the sole block awarded in the first round of bidding.

In February further exploratory drilling is due to begin on the block.

About five large oil companies have expressed interest in oil block in Sri Lanka Wickramasuriya said.

State-run firms including Russia's Gazprom and PetroVietnam have expressed interest in exploration. At one time there were discussions about giving blocks to India and China on an 'assignment basis' without bidding, but the deals were not finalized.

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