Precious Data

(L to R): Nasir Uddhin Chowdhury - MD, Lanka Bangla Securities, Ajith Fernando - Group CEO, CAL, Naveed Vakil – COO, AKD Securities

Sept 27, 2006 (LBO) – India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corp and British Gas have bought up seismic data on potential oil deposits off Sri Lanka’s west coast, for two million dollars. Investors interested in potential oil reserves in the Mannar Basin could buy data from the Sri Lankan government, ahead of a bidding round scheduled for next year.

The data was sold by Norwegian seismic company TGS Nopec, hired by Sri Lanka in 2002 to carry out seismic surveys around the island’s territorial waters.

“TGS Nopec has sold data to Oil and Natural Gas Corp and to British Gas for a value of two million dollars,” A H M Fowzie, minister of petroleum, told journalists on Wednesday.

The government will however be terminating the agreement with TGS Nopec in November, on payment of 10.5 million dollars in compensation.

“TGS Nopec has agreed to a compensation of 10.5 million dollars. They have got two million dollars of this through selling data to two companies. The government will have pay the balance 8.5 million dollars before November 10 to terminate the agreement,” Fowzie said.

With the agreement being terminated, the government takes over all seismic data available,