June 5, 2008 (LBO) – Cairn India Limited, a unit of Cairn Energy plc of the UK, has won an offshore exploration block in Sri Lanka’s Mannar basin beating two other players, the island’s petroleum minister A H M Fowzie said. The firm has made more than 30 oil and gas discoveries in India during the last 13 years.
The Sri Lankan government offered three exploration blocks in the north western Mannar Basin and received bids in January from three firms, mainly regional players focusing on India and South Asia.
But only block No 1, in the north of the exploration area and closest to India, adjacent to an area where oil drilling is already underway, drew interest from all three bidders, ONGC Videsh, Cairn India, and Niko Resources of Cyprus.
The government then said it would only evaluate the block for which it received three bids.
“The selection was approved by the Cabinet of ministers two weeks ago,” Fowzie told LBO.
“A team from the company will come to Sri Lanka at the end of the month to sign the agreement.”
Cairn India said in a statement it had been given Block SL 2007-01-001 which covers 3,400 square kilometres at depths of between 200 to 1,800 metres,