Russian oil and gas giant GAZPROM has sent a four-member technical team to check on the viability of oil and gas exploration in northern Sri Lanka’s Mannar Basin, Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premjayantha said yesterday.
He said another team was expected from the Indian Oil and Natural Gas Company (ONGC) next week.
“The GAZPROM team which arrived yesterday was a sequel to discussions between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Russian Authorities when he visited Russia last year and my follow up trip to Moscow. GAZPROM is keen on oil and gas exploration in the Mannar Basin.
They are liaising with the Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat (PRDS) on this matter,” the minister said and added that GASPROM would be offered a block in the Mannar Basin after it completes studying the data available.
The minister said Cairn-Sri Lanka, a subsidy of Cairn India, is analysing the data collected from the two oil wells it drilled in the Mannar Basin to determine their commercial viability. It’s also drilling third well.
“In 2007 when Sri Lanka offered three blocks, C1, C2 and C3 in the Cauvery Mannar Basin Cairn India won the bid as it was the only company able to meet the conditions of the tender and was offered block C2 for oil exploration,” the minister said and added that Cairn India had conducted three dimensional seismic tests and based on the results of the data collected were now in the process of drilling oil wells in block C2.
The minister said five blocks in the Mannar Basin -- M1, M2, M3, M4 and M5 located off the North Western coast were lined up for international tenders. (Sandun A. Jayasekera)