Sri Lanka swimming in gas & oil – experts
* Lankan experts in global industry set up home company
* Encouraging seismic data, Cairn’s success and PRDS professionalism and integrity key motivational factors
July 8, 2013, 8:24 pm
Top Sri Lankan professionals in the global hydro-carbon industry with over 100 years of collective experience yesterday (08) launched the country’s first oil and gas exploration and production company, Ceylan Energy, with the intention of co-venturing with multinational oil companies bidding for an exploration licence.
The Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat PRDS earlier this year opened the country’s second round of bidding for petroleum exploration licenses for 13 blocks located in Sri Lanka’s side of the Mannar and Cauvery basins with several other blocks in the east and south waters of the country also on offer for joint studies with a view to further assessing their hydrocarbon potential. The closing date for bids is November 30, 2013.
Ceylan Energy, Technical Authority-Subsea, Cecil Goonetilleke told journalists yesterday that seismic data provided concrete evidence of significant hydro-carbon deposits under the seabed in Sri Lanka’s territorial waters.
"India’s largest commercially viable hydro-carbon find was on its side of the Cauvery basin. The same geographical formation extends to Sri Lanka’s side of the basin and right down through the Mannar Basin where Cairn made two successful gas discoveries," Goonetilleke said.
A chartered engineer, Goonetilleke counts 34 years experience in mechanical design, project engineering, and project management, of which 25 years has been gained in the oil and gas industry. He has specialist experience in subsea and platform wellheads, Xmas trees, and systems and has worked with Woodside, Statoil, Conoco Phillips, Norsk Hydro, Hess, Marathon, Lundin, Murphy, and BP.
He said the latest seismic data and Cairn’s success were motivational factors for forming the company.
This did not mean the country would hit oil overnight, it takes considerable time, energy and money, lots of money.
Ceylan Energy Chairman Harry Kulasinghe said, "The country is swimming in oil and gas! The seismic information we have seen is very encouraging and we are confident that there are significant hydro-carbon deposits".
Kulasinghe has worked in the oil and gas industry for over 30 years, working in many regions of world, and has held several senior positions including sales director of KBR Production Services (now PSN) and overseas director for APG Salamis (now part of Petrofac). He is currently vice president – business development for Aker Subsea Limited in the UK and a non-executive director of Hayleys Energy Services Lanka (Pvt) Limited in Sri Lanka.
"We have accumulated some fund and there is a Middle Eastern partner that has committed to provide financing as well," Kulasinghe said not wanting to elaborate.
"We cannot engage in exploration and production on our own because the cost is beyond us, but we do have funds amounting to millions of dollars and this is not all. We are offering our expertise and local knowledge," he said.
He said having encouraging seismic data was not enough, "We need to have effective regulation and controls in place otherwise the country would not be in a position to reap the maximum benefit".
"At the start we were sceptical," Kulasinghe said when asked why the company was formed in 2008 when the first oil exploratory license was issued to Cairn India. "The PRDS conducts itself with professionalism and integrity and this was a key factor in all of us deciding to set up a company here in Sri Lanka".
"I am emotional and ambitious. It has always been my dream to set up a Sri Lankan oil and gas exploration and production company," said Kulasinghe, the son of engineering and industry pioneer Deshabandu Dr. ANS Kulasinghe.
The company is also a sponsor of the ‘Sri Lanka Upstream Conference 2013’ to be held at the Mount Lavinia Hotel this week.
Multinational oil and service companies Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil, Total, ENI, ONGC, Reliance, Schlumberger, Halliburton, Weatherford, Paradigm, Essar, CGG, Western Geco Arkex and others will be sending their top decision makers to the conference.
Key members of the Ceylan Energy Team:
Surath Ovitigama: A mechanical and technical safety engineer with ten years experience in the offshore oil & gas industry, he joined AMEC in Aberdeen (UK) as a graduate engineer and gained monitored professional development in a broad range of roles including mechanical engineering, facilities engineering and project management. Having reached senior engineer level he left AMEC to pursue further studies in safety and reliability engineering. Most recently he has worked within Premier Oil’s global engineering team providing technical assurance on assets in the UK and south-east Asia. Surath is also a Director of HES Global Services Limited (UK) with a remit to develop a workflow between the UK oil industry and Sri Lankan service providers.
Ratnam Sathananthan: With over 35 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, particularly in oil and gas field development, in normal, deep & ultra deep water environment, his special interests include the thermal and hydraulic management of multiphase transportation systems, long distance deepwater subsea tiebacks, subsea processing and cold flow, and the economic development of marginal fields. With over 20 years of management experience in the field development of both topside and subsea systems his clients include Shell, BP, Total, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, Statoil, Centrica, Nexen, Taqa, Adnoc, Pertonas and Lundin. In addition to a degree in chemical engineering, Ratnam has extensive field experience in process system design and operation. He has designed onshore and offshore facilities, with many successful major subsea developments to his credit.
Diwin Amarasinghe: He works as a consultant petroleum exploration geophysicist in the oil and gas industry specialising in seismic data processing, subsurface imaging and geophysical interpretation. He has over thirty five years of hands-on experience in the exploration industry, including eight years of innovative problem solving as a Staff Geophysical Specialist in the Exploration Division of Saudi Aramco head office in Dhahran, using the latest technology in the industry. Twenty eight years prior to this he was employed as a senior geophysicist with major exploration contractors, including CGG, WesternGeco-Schlumberger, Paradigm and GSI during which time his clients included the internationals; BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Shell, Total, Elf, Statoil, Norsk Hydro, Repsol, Eni-Agip, BG Group, Maersk, Anadarko, Hess, Marathon and the National oil companies ADNOC, NNPC, NIOC, ONGC, Petrobras, Saudi Aramco, Sonatrach and Sirte Oil.
Upul Kulasinghe: Counting more than 40 years of experience, a qualified Mechanical Engineer who started his career in Applied Research prior to moving into the offshore industry as a Subsea Engineer and then a Field Engineer with Shell International. After spending some time in major business opportunity development, returned to the offshore oil and gas industry as a project manager specialising in project start-up and situation retrieval. At present consulting to an upstream oil and gas company on rationalising and focusing their computerised maintenance management system. Also is a skilled teambuilder and facilitator, having been trained in these activities by Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, and Halliburton. Residential work experience covers Europe, North America, South East Asia, South Asia and Australasia.
Sas Mahadeva: He is a fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants in the UK. In 1989, Sas was one of the founder directors of a real estate based asset management company in London and latterly Zurich. He specialised in acquisition and development of UK commercial real estate investments, funding structures, tax planning and investment consultancy. He is now a shareholder/director of London based real estate asset management business, Stockwood Capital and also runs his own advisory business, assisting institutional and private investors with investment opportunities in real estate, infrastructure and oil and gas sectors. He has a number of business interests and is extremely well connected in the private equity sector. Sas was born in Sri Lanka and now lives in the UK.