Petroleum Development Authority to regulate Mannar basin oil exploration

Petroleum Development Authority to regulate Mannar basin oil exploration

10 September 2021 08:30 pm

Sri Lanka is set to establish a Petroleum Development Authority with regulatory powers such as the issuances of licences in a transparent manner without any interference in the gigantic task of exploring oil and gas resources worth US $267 billion in Mannar basin.

A modern map was prepared to replace the existing traditional map for oil and gas exploration while new   Bill will also introduce a strong legal framework to protect these large investments and appoint a special committee to advise the subject minister, as billions of dollars will have to be invested in the industry.

Furthermore, in general, a country would succeed in one when drilling seven wells in search for oil and gas according to world standards. The Norwegian government had to dig 31 wells for one success story whilst 3 out of 4 wells drilled in Sri Lanka were successful..

Sri Lanka also intends to seek the assistance of Sri Lankan experts in the field from around the world in this regard, said Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila at the Consultative Committee on Energy held in Parliament Onn Tuesday 07.

He further stated that although investors who invest in these oil and gas drills are given 50%, $ 133.5 billion is Government-owned and it is almost three times the total debt value of the country which is a total of $47 billion. 

The minister made this observation while briefing the Committee including Parliamentarians on the Petroleum Resources Bill to be tabled in Parliament for the second reading. Accordingly, the Bill was approved by the Committee.

The Minister further stated that this Bill, which seeks to regulate and manage the exploration of petroleum resources, including the establishment of the Petroleum Development Authority of Sri Lanka, will be presented to Parliament as a matter of priority for the Government.

Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila said that the Norochcholai power plant could operate for 120 years only from the gas in the Mannar Basin and the Sapugaskanda oil refinery could operate for 143 years with the oil alone.

He stated that although our neighboring country India has been extracting oil and gas from the seas close to Sri Lanka since the 1940s, Sri Lanka has missed it due to various reasons. After lengthy discussions with experts on the subject, it was identified that several reasons have contributed for the aforesaid, the minister further said. 

The Energy Minister said large companies around the world have not come to explore oil resources in Sri Lanka in the recent past due to various reasons.

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