Nov 19, Colombo: Sri Lanka has spent US$ 138 million so far on oil exploration with the belief of natural gas resources were available, Petroleum Resources Minister, Susil Premajayantha told Parliament today.
He made this observation Monday during the committee stage of the third reading of the Budget 2013 in Parliament.
The Sri Lankan government in 2008 signed the Petroleum Resources agreement with Cairn India to explore for oil and natural gas in the Mannar Basin and awarded the Block SL 2007-01-001 to Cairn India.
Cairn Lanka, the subsidiary formed under the agreement with Cairn India, successfully completed the first phase of the exploration in Block SL-2007-01-001 and discovered two successive gas and condensate deposits in two of the three wells it explored.
The third well which has not resulted in any significant discoveries, was plugged and abandoned as a dry hole in December, 2011.
While Cairn Lanka prepares to enter the second phase of oil exploration, Sri Lanka has decided to expand the oil exploration activities from Mannar in the northwest to Galle in the South next year.
Sri Lanka spends a major portion of its revenues on oil purchases. According to Minister Premajayantha US$ 3.2 billion had been expended on oil imports in 2011 and it had doubled this year due to rising oil prices in the global market and the energy crisis brought about by the reduction in hydropower due to the prolonged drought.