Monday, October 3, 2022

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New administration begins feasibility study at Mannar basin for oil exploration

The new administration has taken a major step towards oil exploration in the Mannar basin by advertising identified plots for further studies on oil exploration based on the research concluded in the area last year.

It is planning to undertake a feasibility study on oil exploration in the Mannar Basin, a shallow bay part of the Laccadive Sea in the Indian Ocean, which has about 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, enough to meet the energy needs of the island nation for the next six decades, a media report has said.

A natural gas field was reportedly discovered for the first time in 2011, but the country has not yet capitalised on this treasure trove, which could potentially solve Sri Lanka’s energy requirements, official sources said.

Sri Lanka will auction an oil block in the Mannar basin where traces of natural gas had already been found in early 2022, Energy Ministry said.

Cairn Lanka, a unit of Cairn India, found the presence of natural gas in two exploration wells labelled Dorado and Barracuda, but did not declare a commercial discovery to develop. LNG prices at the time were lower than now. Sri Lanka was also working with Schlumberger, an oil and gas services company, to re-analyze M2 oil exploration data.

“This is at no cost to the government,” the Ministry said. The petroleum exploration office had engaged an experienced consultant to prepare a feasibility report on the Dorado well.

The Dorado-91H/1z well was drilled to 4741 metres and had found 24 metres of hydrocarbon-bearing Cretaceous sandstone in three zones between the depths of 4067 metres and 4206 metres.

They were said to be gas bearing with some liquid hydrocarbon potential. Barracuda-1G/1 was drilled to a depth of 4741 metres and had fond 24 metres of hydrocarbon-bearing Cretaceous sandstone in three zones between the depths of 4067 metres and 4206 metres.

The reservoirs are mostly gas-bearing with some additional liquid hydrocarbon potential.

Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera announced that the Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat (PRDS) would soon advertise the identified plots in Mannar basin for exploration activities.

According to PRDS, there were estimated 5 billion barrels of fuel and about 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Mannar basin.

It is sufficient to meet the country’s fuel requirement for about 60 years, and which could be utilised to increase the country’s power supply to 1130 kilowatts.

The natural gas production alone is estimated to bring approximately US$ 200 billion to the country in various sectors within a span of 25 years.

Although, there’s a possibility of finding economically viable deposits, Wijesekera noted that no assurance could be given in that regard.

Despite calling for proposals multiple times, PRDS is yet to find a reliable investor for the identified petroleum plots in the Mannar basin.

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