A senior Sri Lankan official quoted by the Business Standards has said that the block M5 would be awarded to Cairn Lanka by March this year.
Cairn Lanka, which made gas discoveries in two of the four exploration wells it was awarded, expects production from the country's offshore gas fields starting as early as 2016.
Cairn successfully discovered two successive gas and condensate deposits in the wells Dorado and Barracuda in the offshore Block SL 2007-01-001 in the Mannar Basin.
The Dorado discovery is up for development with first gas officially expected in 2017-18 while Barracuda is being further assessed, according to Cairn. The Company estimates reserves of 74 million barrels of oil equivalent at the two sites.
The Company last month told Rigzone that they are engaged in appraisal planning and commercial discussions with the Sri Lankan government for monetizing the discovered gas resources and have recently secured an extension to the current exploration phase to April 2014.