Feature Article

US oil firm surveys seas off North-East using Chinese vessel

[TamilNet, Sunday, 09 September 2018, 23:36 GMT]
Coinciding with the naval exercises of USA, Japan and India at Trincomalee with the navy of genocidal Sri Lanka, the U.S. oilfield services firm Schlumberger, has launched seismic oil exploration survey beyond Mannaar and Cauvery-basins in the sea of Tamils located off the eastern coast of occupied Tamil Eelam. BGP Pioneer, the vessel deployed to conduct the study, belongs to the Chinese state oil company China National Petroleum Corporation, and it is sailing under the flag of Panama. The deal of the USD 50-million project, run at free of cost to the occupying Colombo, is set for ten years. The target area is JS5 & JS6 blocks off the eastern coast facing the Bay of Bengal.

Seismic surveying
BGP Pioneer
BGP Pioneer
BGP Pioneer
BGP Pioneer
BGP Pioneer
BGP Pioneer
The inaugural ceremony of the deployment of BGP Pioneer
The USA and its allies often cite China's maritime quest in the Indian Ocean to woo strategic partnerships with the states in South Asia.

Such differences get blurred when one power has established its sway over the region, commented political observers in Jaffna. However, what remains is the fact that the strategic partnerships and competing partnerships continuing to operate against the interests of stateless people in South Asia, they said.

Back in 2002 and 2005 a Norwegian contractor, TGS NOPEC, acquired 2D seismic data in the island. Then it was about oil exploration in Mannaar and Cauvery basins.

13 exploration blocks, M-01 to M -10 in Mannaar Basin and C-1 to C5 in Cauvery Basin, were identified at that time off the coast of the Northeast and Western provinces of the island.

Ranil Wickramasinghe's government had given concession rights to the Norwegian company, which was engaged in collecting seismic data between 2002 and 2005.

Later, Rajapaksa regime, which didn't want the Norwegian firm to sell the data to third parties, went to the extent of cancelling the deal by committing to pay USD 10.5 million as termination fee (compensation) specified in the 2001 contract with the Norwegian firm.

The latest seismic exploration is about the so-called Joint blocks, identified as JS-01 to JS-06. Among these, the J5 and J6 located off the seas of the country of Eezham Tamils, are of particular interest, informed sources in Colombo said.

SL Minister of Petroleum Resources Development Arjuna Ranatunga inaugurated the ceremony of the commencement of the largest 2D seismic survey for oil and gas exploration on 02 September upon the arrival of BGP Pioneer.

“Our country is a lucky country. We have initially identified that there are natural gas and petroleum resources. Now, we need to concentrate on data acquisition. Earlier projects have not operated properly. We decided to expedite this project after May, last year. We could be able to sign the agreements with transparency within a short period. As a result of that ‘BGP pioneer’ vessel will be able to acquire 2D data and we will be able to produce data within 18 months,” he was reported as saying in the news released by his ministry.

The Eastern Echo DMCC is investing at least $50 million in the project with an expectation of covering the expense through “the sales of the proceeds to clients,” according to a news report filed by Economy next, a Colombo-based economic and financial news service, on 30 May 2018.

The project includes “advanced data processing/interpretation work or modelling of petroleum, depending on the country’s requirement and pre-commitments to be secured by the contractor,” the Economy next report said.

Schlumberger is analysing the data based from its Kuala Lumpur office in Malaysia, according to the news release issued by the SL Petroleum Ministry.

The Eastern Echo Holding is based in Nicosia, Cyprus.

The Chinese BGP Pioneer is a Norwegian-built vessel from 1988.

Cauvery and Mannaar Basins
Cauvery and Mannaar Basins [Source: SL Ministry of Petroleum Resources Development]

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External Links:
GeoExPro: Cairn Discovers Gas Offshore Sri Lanka
Daily Mirror: Oil resources: SL to sign deals with French, US firms for seismic study
Eurasia Review: Sri Lanka: Oil Exploration In Eastern Seas Begins
SL Ministry of Petroleum Resources Development: Largest 2D Seismic Survey for Oil and Gas Exploration commence in Sri Lanka
Businesswire: TGS-NOPEC Commences Acquisition of Second Sri Lanka Survey
Reuters: Sri Lanka to sign deals with Total, Schlumberger for seismic study
Sunday Times: Offshore oil: Lanka to exclude political firms



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