Sri Lanka’s first airborne survey of petroleum resources begins

* Sri Lanka’s first airborne survey of petroleum resources begins

Thu, Sep 16, 2021, 10:08 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Sept 16, Colombo: For the first time in Sri Lanka, aerial oil exploration in the Mannar and Cauvery basins have begun, the Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat of Sri Lanka (PRDS) announced.

First ever airborne Full Tensor Gradiometry (FTG), Gravity and Magnetics survey targeting petroleum resources of shallow water areas in the Mannar and Cauvery basins of Sri Lanka has kicked-off recently.

This survey is conducted by the UK-based Bell Geospace, a world-renowned geophysical survey company which was chosen following an international competitive tender process by the Government.

PRDS has hired the airborne geophysical surveying services of Bell Geospace to provide 3D Full Tensor Gradiometry, gravity and magnetic survey data on a Multi-Client basis for the region. Phase one of the survey is taking place over the shallow waters of the Mannar and Cauvery basins over blocks M1, C1 and C2.

The long-awaited airborne survey has now been operationalized and it will bring new insight to the petroleum explorations in Sri Lanka, the PRDS said.

In the long run, Sri Lanka’s oil-rich areas were divided into 20 plots. It takes a long time for a single company to explore one plot of land and the cost is high. Therefore, 20 plots were divided into 873 smaller plots and the Hydrocarbon Exploration Blocks Map of Sri Lanka was revised. With the revised map FTG data will allow operators to revisit vintage seismic and wells and efficiently design new acquisitions.

Petroleum investors coming to Sri Lanka need the scientific data and information of those plots to decide which piece to choose for their exploration.

Analysing Air-FTG® and magnetic data will enhance geological mapping which in turn will change current geological ideas. This will shed light on many unexplored areas within the Mannar and Cauvery basins in a cost effective way, and limit exposure to risk.

Medium deep water (150-800 m) areas of the Mannar basin where there are limited seismic data and shallow water areas (150 m) where there is no petroleum data, will be covered during the field data acquisition part of the work program.

After completion of data acquisition and processing phases, Bell Geospace will market and sell these data to potential operators those who are planning to take part in Sri Lankan petroleum explorations.

Importantly, these data as well as interpretations will allow potential operators to revisit the existing seismic and efficiently design new acquisitions. It additionally provides low-cost insight on the unexplored areas where no seismic data exists, the PRDS said.

Bell Geospace work program is regulated mainly through the PRDS, the lead agency responsible for the petroleum explorations in Sri Lanka. Meantime, Ministry of Defense approval and the Civil Aviation Authority clearances have been awarded to execute the airborne survey.

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