Singleton

April 15, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka will only award one out of three offshore oil blocks in the north west of the island for which international oil companies gave bids, petroleum minister A H M Fowzie said. . “We are only evaluating the block for which we received three bids,” Fowzie told reporters Tuesday.

“We will award it to the bidder who will give most profits to the government.”

On January 31 when bids closed, Block 001, which is closest to India attracted bids from three players: 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 69 per cent owned by London-listed Cairn Energy, a small oil firm compared with the global majors, but the biggest foreign petroleum operator in India, both onshore and offshore, which is drilling in Bangladesh and Nepal.

Canada-based Niko Resources is exploring for and producing petroleum and natural gas in Canada, India and Bangladesh.

Block 002 attracted bids from both Cairn India and Niko Resources while Block 003, the largest had only Niko’s sole bid.

In January, Fowzie said technical evaluations of th