None of the oil majors bid and this was probably because of the comparatively small size of the acreage on offer and the unexplored nature of the region.
"Look at south Asia, especially India, a huge country with discovered resources and so many parcels on offer," de Silva told LBO in an interview. "Generally, you don't find the oil majors there."
He said oil majors were generally not present in south Asia.
"Looks like the majors get attracted to areas where oil has been found and there are proven reserves like Angola, Brazil and the North Sea."
However, de Silva said, more interest might be generated if the initial exploration does succeed in striking oil.
"I hope, if we make discoveries – and I think we have potential - then the majors might look very carefully at us. Give us three to five years."
De Silva said it would take another two years to start test drilling with the companies first having to do more seismic surveys.
The government said last week that three firms, mainly regional players focusing on India and south Asia, submitted bids for exploration blocks off the north-west coast.
These were ONGC Videsh, Cairn India, and Niko Resources of Cyprus.
ONGC Videsh is a subsidiary of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, India's largest oil and gas company.
Cairn India, is owned by London-listed Cairn Energy, the biggest foreign petroleum operator in India, both onshore and offshore.
Canada-based Niko Resources is exploring for and producing petroleum and natural gas in Canada, India and Bangladesh.
De Silva said the terms and conditions of the licenses were similar to that in the region and that he was happy with the bids that have been received. Russia made exploratory drills in the 1970s.
"Look at how we started. We had no oil exploration for 25 years. Companies had shown no interest at all. No discoveries, very little data, and the risks involved given the country situation.
"With that background we called bids for three blocks – very small areas compared to the usual licensing rounds. Furthermore, Sri Lanka's continental shelf is very narrow and you quickly get deep water where exploration is very expensive.
"Despite that we got three bids."
Sri Lanka is offering 10,000 square kilometers for exploration compared with around 65,000 sq km in 10 blocks offered by Angola in bids closing in March and India's roughly 170,000 sq km in 57 blocks.
This meant there are more opportunities for major oil companies to find oil elsewhere where the acreage is bigger.
"We were fighting a battle to attract exploration and we succeeded," de Silva said.
The blocks would be awarded to the bidders only if the bids meet government requirements.
There are two parts to the licensing round.
Under the terms of the exploration licenses companies will get blocks for eight years in three phases and can proceed to new phases only after fulfilling their work in the previous phases.
The bidders have submitted guaranteed work programmes that include two and three dimensional seismic surveys and drilling exploration wells.The second aspect of the licenses cover the manner in which profit would be shared if oil is struck and would depend on which firms offers the most money to the government.