Total Energies SE and ExxonMobil in bidding process
He said that there are strong indications that over US $267 billion worth of oil and gas resources are in the Mannar Basin which could generate three times the country’s total debt and that to extract this over USD 3 million which is twice the investment of Colombo Port City the largest project in Sri Lanka to date is needed and for this foreign assistance is required for technical knowhow and investments. Hence we are in talks with Total Energies SE, a French multinational integrated oil and Gas Company founded in 1924 and US-based ExxonMobil is one of the world’s largest publicly traded international oil and gas companies in this regard. He said that to ensure the smooth function of this historic operation a new bill which seeks to regulate and manage the exploration of petroleum resources, including the establishment of the Petroleum Development Authority of Sri Lanka, was passed in parliament.
Although our neighbouring country India has been extracting oil and gas from the seas close to Sri Lanka since the 1940s, Sri Lanka has missed it due to various reasons. “Mannar basin is close to India oil deposits and hence extraction is a reality. Also, as the regulatory powers such as the issuance of licenses were completely concentrated in the hands of the Minister, all activities had been disrupted when there was a change of the Minister. Therefore, we have decided to transfer all the powers of the Minister to the Board of Directors of this Authority. Also, a modern map was prepared to replace the existing traditional map for oil and gas exploration,” the Minister added.
The Bill will also introduce a strong legal framework to protect these large investments and appoint a special committee to advise the minister, as billions of dollars will have to be invested in the industry, the Minister of Energy said. He also stated that he intends to seek the assistance of Sri Lankan experts in the field from around the world in this regard.