ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 33
Financial Times  

Oil exploration awaits cabinet reshuffle

The final decision on the exploration of oil in the Mannar and Covari Basins in the country will be further delayed due to the anticipated cabinet reshuffle, A.H.M. Fowzie, Minister of Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Development said.

He said a meeting with the leaders of political parties was to be called by the President on this issue and has not been summoned yet. "We will have to wait and see after the cabinet reshuffle," he told The Sunday Times FT. As reported last week by this paper, the government of Sri Lanka purchased the results of the 2D seismic surveys conducted by Norwegian company, TGS NOPEC, the data of which is being stored in Australia.

According to the Minister, the data shows that there are fuel deposits in the Mannar Basin where the seismic surveys were conducted. However, no independent study of the data has been conducted. "No independent person has analysed the data because we can't release the information. Anyone who wants to come into the business has to purchase the information." However, experts in the field of oil exploration have told The Sunday Times FT that it is crucial that a thorough independent analysis of the data be conducted due to the political and economic sensitivity of the issue.

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