Interview: Sri Lanka gas policy should be included in energy plan


May 16, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka needs a gas policy to be included in its new national energy plan to effectively market its offshore hydrocarbon fields to potential players, a top official said. “The gas policy is essential, as we cannot market the blocks without it,” Saliya Wickramasuriya, director general, Petroleum Resource Development Secretariat (PRDS) said in an interview with Lanka Business Online. A policy would increase the credibility and attractiveness of the Sri Lankan oil and gas industry, and we should incorporate this in our energy plan, he said. Cairn Lanka, a subsidiary of Cairn India, struck gas on October, 2011 in a well they dug in Sri Lanka s Mannar basin and was followed by another in November. But the gas fields are yet to be developed as Cairn withdraw from island to focus on their Rajasthan oil fields. Sri Lanka s second round of bidding for 13 blocks in Mannar and Cauvery basins had drawn just three bids by Calgary-based Bona Vista Energy and Cairn India, which have yet to be awarded. Wickramasuriya expressed disappointment over the results but said it was a learning experience. He added that seismic data, the lack of which had also caused setbacks during the bidding process, would be gathered following Cabinet approval, as compelling proposals were received from leading international companies. Meanwhile, the draft Petroleum Bill which has clearly defined the powers and functions of each stakeholder and makes the approval processes simpler could be approved by the Cabinet soon. The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka critiqued the Ceylon Electricity Board’s new Long-term Generation Expansion Plan and directed the utility to submit a revised version that will make provision for renewable energy like wind and solar power and gas.  
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