Sri Lanka signs agreement with Bell Geospace for offshore oil and natural gas exploration

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – Sri Lanka’s government has signed an agreement with the Bell Geospace Ltd to explore for offshore oil and gas deposits in the seas off North and Northwest.

Minister of Highways and Petroleum Resources Development Kabir Hashim and General Manager of Bell Geospace John McFarlane today signed the agreement for the company to conduct Gravity and Magnetic Surveys over the sea coast of Sri Lanka to explore the mineral gas fields.

The agreement was signed for a project to carry out Airborne Gravity, Gravity Gradiometry and Magnetic Surveys over the sea coast of Sri Lanka to explore the mineral gas fields said to be situated around the Cauvery Basin off the northern peninsula and the Mannar Basin off the northwest coast.

Bell Geospace uses a technique which exploits magnetic anomalies in the Earth’s magnetic field to search for petroleum and mineral deposits below the surface. Exploration of using gravity and magnetic techniques enable faster detection of deposits and give more precise locations for drilling.

According to the Minister, the project with Bell Geospace aims to attract world renowned oil companies as investors in oil exploration.

“We think we have the opportunity to find not just gas but also crude oil. Usually we have trouble getting money from the Treasury for explorations. If we enlighten the international community, some of the best institutions in the world will be interested. Companies like this are willing to do these studies and bear the expenses with the belief that other companies are looking to invest in Sri Lanka. Once they collect the data, they can sell the data from the surveys to other companies. We get 40 percent of that income as well. The agreement is advantageous for both sides,” the Minister said.

Sri Lanka’s Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat (PRDS) has identified several blocks for offshore oil exploration and the government has called for international competitive bids for exploration and production of oil and natural gas in M1 and C1 blocks.

The Cabinet in February this year approved awarding the contract to carry out the survey, to Bell Geospace Ltd. in accordance with the recommendation of the Cabinet Appointed Negotiation Committee.

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