Sri Lanka is an island paradise filled with a multitude of natural resources. The bounty of natural resources found within Sri Lanka include, Phosphate, Lime Stone, High quality Iron ore, Gems and much much more. The latest Addition to this abundant list is Crude Oil. Even though there have been no Oil or natural gas deposits that have been discovered within the territory of Sri Lanka to date, experts and scientists claim that Sri Lanka may have potential oil deposits lying off shore in the Mannar basin and parts of the Cauvery Basin that is under Sri Lankan Jurisdiction. The search for Crude or Black gold in Sri Lanka dates back to the era of Mrs. Sirimao Bandaranaike who was holding power in early 1970s.
The Opportunity for Crude Oil exploration was given to the former Soviet Union. These first experiments conducted by the USSR did not yield any crude oil with commercially recoverable reserves.
Even though there has been no direct confirmation that Sri Lanka has Crude Oil or gas deposits, up until now the Sri Lankan Government and its people remain hopeful considering the fact that the Indian Side of the Cauvery basin has yielded an abundant proof of the presence of crude oil deposits. These deposits have yielded and resulted in twenty six small and medium sized Crude Oil and Natural gas fields with approximately 700 million barrels of Oil. The closest of the discovery and wells is PH-9-1 a well located approximately 80 km north of the Sri Lankan border. This particular well has an output of 1488 barrels a day of 56 API Crude oil.
There are several essential elements for the presence of a petroleum system. These include a collection of source rock, reservoir rock, seal rock and processes such as hydrocarbon generation, migration-and accumulation and trap formation. So far all of these elements have been found in and around the Mannar basin promising some level of Petroleum presence.
Already the Mannar basin has been divided into several blocks and some have been given to private companies like Cairn as well as Governments like China and India to conduct research. On the 5th of October 2011 following the discovery of a natural gas deposit in the Mannar basin off the northwest coast Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan government announced plans to call for a competitive bid soon to explore oil in the remaining blocks of the Mannar Basin. This has lead to a nationwide discussion as well as rising hopes for a chance for Sri Lanka to have the benefit of earning Petro-Dollars, hoping that through its new found wealth Sri Lanka could finally carry on its journey of development in earnest.
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