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DateLine Thursday, 12 June 2008

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Mannar oil search to begin this year

Oil exploration in the Mannar basin is to commence within this year, with the Government awarding one of the blocks earmarked in the North-Western sea to an Indian investor.

Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Development Minister A.H.M. Fowzie said Cairns India, the offeree of the first block in the Mannar project, is expected to launch its activities in August, while the selection process for the remaining two blocks for which tenders were called is still underway.

"Three companies have already submitted bids for Block No. 2, while Block No. 3 has received one bid. All bidders are countries like the Netherlands, United States and India," he said, adding that the successful bidders will be picked shortly with Cabinet approval.

According to the Minister, the agreement between the Government and Cairns India for the exploration of oil in Block No.1 will be signed at the end of this month or in the first week of July.

The company is expected to invest over US $ 10 million on exploring oil deposits in the block which covers over 3,000 square kilometres.

Meanwhile, an Egyptian team of geologists have carried out surveys in the Southern territorial waters on the possibility of finding oil resources in the sea off Hambantota.

"The team was sent to Sri Lanka following a request to the Egyptian Government to assist oil exploration in Sri Lanka. At the conclusion of the survey, the team submitted a report to us containing recommendations," Fowzie said.

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OPEC daily prices rise over US$ 130 for first time

The average daily oil prices of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on Monday hit the historic high of 130.87 U.S. dollars per barrel (dpb), the Vienna-based cartel said Tuesday. The prices once retreated back to 118.56 dpb last Wednesday and rose to 118.77 dpb last Thursday.

 

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