Oil explorers queue up for oil and gas exploration in Sri Lanka’s Mannar Basin
A four-member technical team from the Russian Oil and Gas Company GAZPROM arrived in Sri Lanka yesterday to check on the viability of oil and gas exploration in the Mannar Basin. The visit follows discussions held by President Mahinda Rajapaksa with the Russian authorities and the Gasprom Chairman Mr. Viktor Zubkov, who is also the First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, during the President’s visit to Russia in June this year to attend the St. Petersburg Summit.
Gazprom is one of the world’s largest energy companies dealing in geological exploration, production, transportation, storage, processing and marketing of hydrocarbons as well as generation and marketing of heat and electric power.
Minister of Petroleum Industry Mr. Susil Premjayanth said that Gazprom is keen on oil and gas exploration in the Mannar Basin and they will be offered a block in the Mannar Basin after it completes studying the data available.
The Minister also said that 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, and drilling a third well as well.
The Minister said that second well was drilled to a total depth of 4,741 metres in water depth of 1,509 metres and encountered 24 metres of hydrocarbon bearing sandstone in three zones between the depths of 4,067 metres and 4,206 metres.
The company had reported the discovery stating that the reservoirs are predominantly gas bearing with some additional liquid hydrocarbon potential. The state of the art fifth generation drillship, Chikyu, from Japan has been engaged for this drilling campaign.
According to the international tender notice floated by Cairn – the seismic vessel should be equipped with on board processing facilities. International exploration & production experts believe this is a tentative plan for the seismic and will depend on the outcome of the drilling campaign currently on.
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 five blocks in the Mannar Basin -- M1, M2, M3, M4 and M5 located off the North Western coast were lined up for international tenders.
Seismic contractors are gearing up to respond to an expression of interest floated last month by Cairn Lanka for acquisition of 3D seismic data in the Mannar basin exploration block. Cairn is also reported to be planning to acquire additional 3D seismic data following the back to back success in the first two wells already drilled in the basin off Sri Lanka’s Northwestern shores.
China and several other foreign countries have also expressed interest in undertaking oil exploration activities in Sri Lanka.