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Tuesday December 5th, 2023

Sri Lanka to advertise plots for oil exploration: power and energy minister

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka plans to advertise plots for studies on oil exploration in the Mannar Basin following research conducted in the area last year, Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera said on Tuesday (24).

Wijesekara made this announcement at the weekly cabinet media briefing Tuesday morning.

A natural gas field was reportedly discovered for the first time in Sri Lanka from the Mannar Basin in 2011, but the country has yet to capitalize on this purported resource. The privately owned Derana media TV network claimed previously that the area had approximately 5 billion barrels of fuel and about 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, enough to meet energy needs of the country for about 60 years.

In February 2022, then Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila said India had initiated talks with Sri Lanka for oil exploration, while a deepwater exploration block where carbon traces have been found earlier was to be re-auctioned.

He had previously claimed the existence of 267 billion US dollars of oil and gas resources under the country’s seas at a parliamentary hearing, up 27 billion dollars from earlier reported claims.


Sri Lanka ups oil resource claims to US$267bn

The Ada Derana report added that the deposits could be used to increase the country’s power supply to 1,130 kilowatts and the natural gas supply could bring approximately 200 billion US dollars to the country in a span of 25 years.

Officials had stated that difficulty in finding reliable investors and lack of staff at the Sri Lanka Petroleum Development Authority was to blame for the failure to formalise a program to explore the area.

The lack of sufficient internally generated energy has led to power cuts that in April lasted up to 13 hours a day. The country’s power plants undergo constant breakdowns, and hydropower, which the island is significantly dependent on, is an unreliable source of energy during drought seasons.

As Sri Lanka goes through a devastating fuel shortage as a result of lack of foreign exchange, many have been calling for diversification and development in Sri Lanka’s current energy production methods. (Colombo/May24/2022)

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Sri Lanka finding ways to clear 1.1mn pending cases: Justice Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is taking a series of steps to speed up 1.1 million pending court cases and encourage alternative dispute solving mechanisms, Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe said.

“The delay in court cases is a serious problem,” Minister Rajapakshe told a briefing at the President’s Media Centre.

“We have already taken several steps to expedite cases.”

There were 5,680 cases in Supreme Court, 4,054 in the Court of Appeal, 6,168 in the High Court of Civil Appeal, 8,363 in the Commercial High Court, 28,000 in the High Court, 254,000 in District Courts and 791,000 in Magistrates Courts.

In 2015, only 49 percent of complaints to mediation boards were resolved. Following reforms, the ratio has been increased to 70 percent.

The value of disputes going to mediation board has been raised to one million rupees from 500,000 rupees.

To solve land problems in the post-war period, special mediation boards on property was set up in the North and the East.

Mediation boards on property will be set up in another 16 districts.

Commercial High Courts were increased to four from three.

Another Commercial High Court will be set up in the future. The consideration of cases that can go to a High Court was raised from 4 million rupees to 10 million rupees.

A commercial dispute resolution law will be introduced next January.

A small claims court has been established.

Case involving disputes below 2 million rupees can be directed to small claims court.

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Sri Lanka stocks close up as some investor interest returns

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed up on Monday, CSE data showed.

The All Share Price Index was up 0.22 percent, or 23.33 points, at 10,743.59.

The S&P SL20 index was up 0.68 percent, or 20.60 points, at 3,067.73.

Turnover was at 708 million. The banks sector contributed 189 million, while the food, beverage and tobacco sector contributed 176 million of this.

Sri Lanka’s stock market has seen some investor interest return after last week’s news that the country had managed an agreement on a debt restructuring deal with an official creditor committee, and foreign funds for some development projects resumed.

Top positive contributors to the ASPI in the day were Sampath Bank Plc (up at 71.50), LOLC Holdings Plc (up at 379.00), and Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc, (up at 90.90).

There was a net foreign outflow of 52 million.

Citrus Leisure Plc, which announced that its banquet hall and revolving restaurant at the Lotus Tower would launch on or around Dec 9, saw its share price rise to 6.20 rupees. (Colombo/Dec4/2023).

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Sri Lanka rupee closes broadly steady at 328.10/30 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 328.10/30 to the US dollar on Monday, from 328.00/10 on Friday, dealers said.

Bond yields were stable.

A bond maturing on 01.06.2025 closed at 13.70/14.00 percent from 13.70/95 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.08.2026 closed at 13.90/14.10 percent from 13.90/14.05 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.01.2027 closed at 14.00/14.10 percent from 14.05/10 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 14.20/35 percent from 14.15/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 14.25/45 percent, from 14.20/45 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 14.05/40 percent, from 14.00/45 percent. (Colombo/Dec4/2023)

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