U.S. grants LKR 51 million for petroleum exploration in Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 14 March 2007, 17:01 GMT]
U.S. Trade and Development Agency has awarded 51 million rupees ($474,000) to Sri Lanka Wednesday. Promoting energy security in Sri Lanka through the development of oil and gas sector is the goal of the grant, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Embassy in Colombo. U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert Blake and Sri Lankan Secretary for the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, signed the agreement Wednesday.

Full text of the press release issued by the U.S. Embassy follows:

U.S. Grants 51 Million Rs. to Develop Petroleum Exploration Regulations

Colombo - March 14, 2007 - Promoting energy security in Sri Lanka through the development of the nation's oil and gas sector is the goal of a grant from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency awarded today to the Ministry of Finance and Planning. The 51 million Rs., ($474,000), grant will fund technical assistance to the Ministry of Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Development in support of its efforts to develop a comprehensive oil and gas regulatory system and establish an organizational structure for the regulatory authority.

The USTDA grant was conferred in a signing ceremony at the Finance Ministry in Colombo. U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert Blake and Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Secretary for the Ministry of Finance and Planning, signed the grant on behalf of the U.S. and Sri Lankan governments, respectively.

The USTDA grant awarded today will help Sri Lanka transition from a consumer-driven to a production-oriented oil and gas regulatory structure, based on the Sri Lankan government's plans to open up promising offshore oil and gas blocks for exploration and development. "Development of the offshore oil and gas sector could be an important opportunity for Sri Lanka to reduce energy imports, generate revenue and create jobs. The United States wants to help Sri Lanka maximize its potential gain from oil and gas exploration," said Ambassador Blake.

Sri Lanka presently has no oil or gas production of its own and imports approximately 80,000 barrels per day. The establishment of a sound regulatory regime will contribute to Sri Lanka's nascent petroleum industry and reduce the nation's dependence on imports. "A well-developed regulatory structure is essential to attracting and keeping high-quality investors in the oil sector," remarked the Ambassador; "We hope our assistance will help Sri Lanka establish an open and transparent regulatory system that both protects Sri Lanka's interests and gives investors confidence that they can earn a worthwhile return on their investment."

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency funds various forms of technical assistance, early investment analysis, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment. USTDA's strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development. In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.

 

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