Treasure Hunt

Feb. 20 (LBO) – India’s Reliance group is scouting for investment opportunities in Sri Lanka, with an eye on oil exploration in potential areas off Mannar on the Western coast, officials said Monday. Two rounds of seismic surveys have shown that Sri Lanka has potential oil reserves in the Cauvery Basin off the west coast, and is to call for bids for exploration later this year.

“We feel that Sri Lanka is next door to our discoveries and we have a good understanding of the geology in that (Cauvery Basin) area,” Atul Chandra, President of International Operations, Reliance, told journalists in Colombo.

The island is to offer eight to nine blocks for investors for exploration through a bidding round, though the Indian government has asked for a block to be reserved on nomination.

Early seismic surveys carried out by Norwegian firm TGS Nopec show that Sri Lanka has potential reserves of about 10 – 50 million barrels.

“This has been a fact finding mission as to what investment opportunities are available for investment,” Chandra said.

Potential opportunities also include a tie up with state oil giant Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (Ceypetco) for investments in oil refining.