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Exxon, Shell Likely Bidders In Oil, Gas Block Auction

Oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp, Royal Dutch Shell Plcand France’s Total have shown interest in bidding for blocks offered in Sri Lanka’s current licensing round, the regulator said last week.
Sri Lanka has tried to reinvigorate oil and gas exploration efforts since the end of a three-decade war in May 2009. The country does not currently produce oil and spent $5 billion on imports in 2012.
Italy’s ENI and India’s ONGC Videsh and Cairn India could also bid for the blocks, Saliya Wickramasuriya, head of the Petroleum Resource Development Secretariat (PRDS), told media at an industry event.
Sri Lanka expects to award 13 exploration blocks in the Cauvery and Mannar basins off the northwest coast in the first quarter of 2014.
“(These) six and some smaller companies have shown interest as of now … on more than one occasion they have visited us and continue to seek clarification on terms of the contracts,” Wickramasuriya said.
Sri Lanka has also offered six ultra-deepwater blocks off the south-eastern coast for a joint study with PRDS to establish their hydrocarbon potential.
Total and a couple of other companies are eyeing these joint study blocks, Wickramasuriya said.
The first review of proposals will take place next week, followed by an announcement in October, he said.

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