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* Sri Lanka announces availability of more blocks for offshore oil and gas exploration
Wed, Aug 28, 2013, 10:35 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Aug 28, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat (PRDS) has announced the availability of more blocks for offshore oil and gas exploration and invited proposals from suitably experienced oil companies.

The PRDS announced Tuesday (August 27) that 6 ultra-deep water blocks of area between approximately 18,000 and 26,000 square kilometers each around the country's coastline are available to be awarded outside the current bid round.

These awards will be based on the experience and capability of the applicant along with their proposed work commitment, the PRDS said.

The basic framework for the agreement is a 2 year period of exclusivity for data acquisition, processing and interpretation, followed by a further 1 year for discussions with the PRDC on potential next steps.

The PRDS will hold a pre-bid clarification meeting in Colombo on August 29 to discuss the format for submission of bids, data purchase requirements, and availability of new data among others.

Sri Lanka has extended the deadline for bids until November 29 on 13 offshore blocks in the Cauvery and Mannar basins.

PRDS held a Exploration and Production (E&P) symposium titled 'Sri Lanka Upstream 2013' in July and the representatives of top oil exploring firms like ONGC, Cairn, Total, Exxon Mobil, ENI, Shell, Schlumberger, Halliburton, CGG participated in it.

Meanwhile the Director General of PRDS Saliya Wickramasuriya said the government is waiting for the early commercialization of the first discovery of Cairn Lanka, the Sri Lankan subsidiary of Indian oil explorer Cairn India.

According to the Director General Cairn Lanka, the only oil and gas explorer currently active in Sri Lanka is now refining their appraisal plan for the for the first two discoveries.

Cairn Lanka, which made gas discoveries in two of the four exploration wells it drilled, has scheduled more wells in the Mannar Basin for the end of this year and the beginning of 2014.

The Company said it continues to consider appraisal options for the gas discoveries made and evaluate Monetization of the existing discoveries under various development and commercial scenarios and plans to continue into exploration phase-III.

Cairn Lanka said discussions with the Sri Lankan government regarding commercial terms and gas pricing are progressing.

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