Sri Lanka is offering about 10 to 11 offshore blocks in the Mannar and the Cauvery basins in a second bidding round that will be launched on March 7 at a premier oil conference in Houston, USA, a top official of the country’s petroleum exploration office said.
According to Director General of Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat (PRDS), Saliya Wickramasuriya, t he second licensing round will be launched at CERAWeek, a leading oil industry gathering organized Sri Lanka’s bid consultant IHS.
Wickramasuirya said that the international oil companies have already been informed about the new licensing round through IHS.
“There was a mail notification sent out by our bid consultants, IHS, on February 13 through their international network. About four to five thousand people subscribe to their alerts and it went as mail shot to everybody.”
“But at the same time, from our side we notified a list of about 25 oil companies of different sizes who had been in contact with us over the last year,” he noted.
PRDS plans to hold road shows in Houston, London and Singapore to lure investors and is readying to hold an E&P Symposium (Exploration and Production) in Colombo in April-June—approximately one month after the conclusion of the road shows.
According to Wickramasuriya, the actual bidding will take place in August-September this year, after providing sufficient time to international oil companies— both who already have knowledge about Sri Lanka and those who don’t have—to make their final decisions.
“We are expecting at least 10 serious bidders,” Wickramasuriya said.
Sri Lanka conducted its first off shore licensing round in 2007, where Cairn India won the rights for one block at a financial commitment worth US $ 112 million.
During the first bid round, three offshore blocks in the Mannar basin were offered. Three parties bid in the first round and all of them bid for the block that was won by Cairn. Two parties bid for one of the remaining blocks and the other block attracted only one bid.
However the authorities decided not to develop the two blocks since the bids received were really light and lacked sufficient financial commitment.