07 October 2009

Offshore Oil Field Support Services for Sri Lanka Firms

07th October 2009, www.lankabusinessonline.com

A call for offshore oil field support services by a company exploring for oil in Sri Lanka provides domestic firms the opportunity they have been waiting for, officials said.

Cairn Lanka, a unit of Cairn India, which is part of Britain's Cairn Energy, has called for expressions of interest and pre-qualification by mid-October for provision of services to support its exploration effort.

The company has called for support for drilling, testing and completion of exploratory wells in a deepwater block off Sri Lanka.

It plans to start drilling test wells by January 2011 to May 2011.

Among the services requested are anchor handling tugs, supply vessels and offshore supply barges.

Cairn Lanka has also called for rig positioning and site survey services, supply of fuel and water, provision of local logistic support such as cranes, port clearances, boat calls, and offshore supply base services.

Another service requested is air logistics which will provide opportunities for helicopter services offered by local aviation firms, officials said.

Sri Lanka's private sector has been positioning itself to take advantage of the opportunities thrown up by the search for offshore oil in the form of support services.

Oil explorations firms are expected to source some of their requirements from local industry in order to ensure the benefits of oil are shared in the domestic economy and also provide employment for locals.

Big companies like the listed Hayleys and Hemas conglomerates and unlisted Maharaja Organisation group have been preparing to provide offshore oil industry services.

The government of Sri Lanka has awarded Cairn an exploration licence to explore for oil and natural gas in the Mannar Basin off the north-west coast.

The block covers about 3,000 square kilometres in water depths of 200 metres to 1,800 metres.

Cairn Lanka said last week it is seeking a drill ship or semi-submersible rig capable of operating in water depths of between 800 metres to 1,700 metres with the expected maximum well depth being 5,500 metres.

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