April 26, 2007 (LBO) – India is eyeing two oil exploration blocks in Sri Lanka with two state oil firms engaging in open bidding as well as taking a block that is being given as a special favour by their southern neighbor, reports said. The United States is also hosting Sri Lanka’s petroleum officials at a conference in May 01, where they can market the blocks to US and other global oil players. ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas arm of state-owned explorer, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, is likely to make a formal proposal to the Sri Lankan government for taking over an oil block in the island nation as soon as its board approves the proposal, India’s Daily News and Analysis reported.
“While the MoU would be for exploring the one block in the Mannar basin that has been offered on a nomination basis to India, OVL may also take part in the bidding round for oil and gas blocks that Sri Lanka is likely to announce shortly,” DNA said.
India and China the ’emerging economic powerhouses of Asia’ are getting a block each outside the bidding process from their tiny ally, while other economic giants like the United States which give the country low interest long-term loans and grant aid are entering competitive bids.