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Govt to expedite oil quest

COLOMBO: Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Development Minister A.H.M. Fowzie will meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa next week to discuss the Government's future programme for exploring oil deposits along the Sri Lankan sea belt.

"During this discussion we hope to draw up the Government's future course of action regarding oil exploration and the task of conducting seismic surveys in the sea which would stop following the exit of the Norwegian company," Minister Fowzie told the Daily News.

The process to be followed in calling tenders for the eight blocks in the Northern and Eastern seas earmarked for oil exploration is also among the issues to be taken up at the meeting. Fowzie said the Government has sent proposals to TGS NOPEC for terminating the agreement whereby the company had undertaken to carry out two dimensional and three dimensional seismic surveys in the sea.

"The company has submitted certain amendments to these proposals. Once the paperwork is completed we will take steps to pay the agreed amount of compensation and obtain the seismic data they have collected. Then the Government can take over and carry the surveys forward," he said.

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