Lanka offers Mannar oil block to ONGC

New Delhi, Jan 18 | Updated: Jan 19 2007, 05:30am hrs
Of the eight exploration blocks in its kitty, Sri Lanka on Thursday said it had offered one oil exploration block to Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) in Mannar near the Kaveri basin. Another one has been offered to China. Sri Lanka is planning to allocate the rest of the six blocks in three months.

Both the blocks offered to India and China are in Mannar (in the north-west coast), closer to the Kaveri basin. The remaining blocks will be offered in three months time, Sri Lanka's railways and transport, petroleum and petroleum resources minister AHM Fowzie said on the sidelines of the international energy conclave-Petrotech 2007.

Earlier, Norway-based TGS Nopek was dealing with the blocks, but Sri Lanka bought the 2D data from the company for 10.5 million dollars and has given it to Australian company Spectrum for interpretation. Colombo has sold two of the available data to ONGC and British Gas.On downstream plans, Fowzie said the country was thinking of expanding its single refinery to 100,000 barrels per day capacity from the current 50,000 barrels per day.

We have allocated around one million dollars for the feasibility study. However, we are speaking to the Egyptian government for a free feasibility study, but if that does not fall through, we would be calling for tenders, Fowzie said, adding it is planning to complete expansion plans in the next two years.

UAE-based Global Energy had shown interest in setting up a 100,000 barrels per day refinery in Hambantota. We have identified the land and once the land has been handed over to them, they would start construction, he said.