takes on BOI, CB over oil blocks
By Poornima Ravishan Wijemanne
Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Development Minister A.H.M.
Fowzie last week accused the Board of Investment (BOI) and the
Central Bank (CB) of interfering with the affairs of the
Ministry office at the cabinet meeting, when the BOI and the CB
opposed his plan to sell three blocks of oil deposits in Mannar
Miniser Fowzie’s plan had been contrary to the recommendations
of the Economic Council, consisting of representatives of the
BOI and the CB, which had only endorsed the evaluation of
tenders for block 1 for exploration.
Of the total five blocks of oil in Mannar, two have already been
reserved for India and China – the offer is yet to be responded
by both countries – and the government has called tenders to
sell the remaining three. According to informed sources, there
have been three, two and one bidder each for blocks 1, 2 and 3.
Finally, on the insistence of the President, Mahinda Rajapaksa,
the cabinet had agreed to evaluate bids only for block 1.
Meanwhile, Minister Fowzie told The Nation, “Presently we are
evaluating bids for one block and we are expecting to finalise
on the best bid during the course of this month.”
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India (ONGC), Canada-based
Niko Resources and British-based Cairn Energy are competing for
the sale of the oil block that is presently being evaluated. The
Minister also said that the sale of the rest of the blocks would
follow after this sale.