Sri Lanka seeks seismic data from Soviet-era petroleum study
Oct 11, 2018 15:03 PM GMT+0530 | 0 Comment(s)
ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka is seeking off-shore seismic data from a Soviet-era study conducted over four decades ago, the island's mission in the Russian Federation said.
Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat Director General Vajira Dassanayake, during a visit to Moscow to attend the Russian Energy Week International Forum, had called on Sri Lanka's Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka to get diplomatic support to obtain the data.
"The ambassador assured the mission's fullest cooperation to assist the Government of Sri Lanka to obtain the data by liaising with relevant state institutions in the Russian Federation," the statement said.
The former Soviet Union had conducted seismic surveys on the Cauvery Basin, north of Sri Lanka from 1972 to 1975.
The Soviet Union had collected 4,837 kilometres of seismic data in addition to onshore data in the Cauvery Basin.
This was during the initial phase of Sri Lanka's petroleum exploration.
Currently the Sri Lankan government and France's Total have launched a joint study off the country's east coast.
A vessel is conducting seismic surveys in the north-eastern JS-5 and JS-6 blocks under the joint study.
More surveys off the western and southern coasts are being considered.
Sri Lanka is currently gearing to re-tender the M2 block in the western Mannar Basin for commercial operations.
Two wells bearing natural gas were discovered by India's Cairn in the M2 block before the company abandoned international operations during the shale oil boom in 2015.
Following inquiries made by the government this year, 12 international petroleum majors have shown interest in the two wells.
The two wells are estimated to have 2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 10 million barrels of condensate, the PRDS has said.
It has said that Mannar Basin alone could have the potential of an additional 5 billion barrels of oil and 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
This would be sufficient for Sri Lanka’s energy needs for the next 60 years.
Tenders are planned for other blocks in the Mannar and Cauvery basin as well.
The initial phase of Sri Lanka's offshore exploration efforts had started with France's Compaigne General de Geophysicque conducting 420 kilometres of onshore and 75 kilometres of off-shore seismic surveys from 1967-68.
This had been followed by the Soviet surveys.
The Soviets had drilled one well which had small amounts of dissolved gas.
Another two wells drilled nearby had not shown indications of vast reservoirs and the Soviets had withdrawn from operations.
Later exploration and drilling activities in the Cauvery Basin by other parties had been unsuccessful in finding substantial oil or gas deposits.
This had led to a lull in exploration between 1984 and the 2000s. (Colombo/Oct11/2018)