Crisis-hit Sri Lanka Planning to Study on Oil Exploration in Mannar Basin: Minister

The crisis-hit Sri Lankan government plans to conduct a feasibility study on drilling for oil in the Mannar Basin, a shallow part of the Lacadive Sea in the Indian Ocean, which contains about 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, enough to meet the needs of energy needs, a media report said. for this island nation over the next six decades. A natural gas field was first discovered here in 2011, but the country has yet to exploit this treasure trove, which could solve Sri Lanka’s energy requirements, Ada Derana news portal reported.

During a media briefing on Tuesday after a cabinet meeting, Sri Lanka’s Energy and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said the government plans to announce plots for oil exploration studies in the Mannar Basin following research conducted in the area last year. According to the results of the Public Accounts Committee held in 2016, the head of accounting said that there are about 5 billion barrels of fuel and about 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Manar Basin, which is enough to meet the needs of about 60 years, the report said.

The Ada Derana report said the deposits could be used to increase the country’s power supply to 1,130 kilowatts and the natural gas supply could bring nearly US$200 billion to the country over the next 25 years. The officials stated that the difficulty in finding reliable investors and lack of personnel in the Sri Lanka Petroleum Development Authority were the reasons for the delay in setting up an official program to explore this resource-rich region, she said.

The current situation in Sri Lanka has been so appalling that the country is experiencing power outages of up to 12 hours per day due to the lack of adequate supplies of fuel. Sri Lanka’s cabinet on Tuesday approved a US$500 million loan application from India’s Exim Bank to purchase petroleum products amid a severe foreign exchange crisis that has paralyzed the island nation.

The country is experiencing unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst since its independence from Britain in 1948. It is short on almost all necessities, due to a lack of dollars to pay for imports.

The economic crisis also caused a political crisis in Sri Lanka and a demand for the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The crisis has already forced Chief Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, the president’s older brother, to resign on May 9.

Inflation soaring to 40 percent, shortages of food, fuel and medicine and constant power outages have led to nationwide protests and a slump in the currency, with the government short of the foreign exchange reserves it needs to pay for imports.

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