Oil and gas exploration in the Mannar basin will begin next year and the agreement will be signed with a prospective investor on a production sharing basis, Petroleum Resources Development Minister Kabir Hashim told parliament yesterday.
He said bidding was invited to find a prospective investor and that 12 local and foreign companies have already submitted bidding papers.
"We opened a round of bidding on January 6. It will continue till May 7 to find a prospective investor. We will sign a production-sharing agreement with the selected investor on 2020 and launch oil exploration activities soon after. We expect the first production of natural gas during the period 2023 to 25," he said.
The minister said surveys and studies have revealed that two gas blocks of 9 trillion square meters and two oil blocks of over 2 billion barrels were discovered in the Mannar basin. (Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera)