Natural gas discovery in Mannar a game changer

Oct 13, 2014 12:00 AM

The discovery of Natural Gas in the Mannar Basin has stimulated the interest of local and foreign entrepreneurs with knowledge and expertise in the Oil and Gas Industry regarding the opportunities and challenges associated with developing the sector.

Although the subject is somewhat alien to the Sri Lankan general public, those who are in the know are undoubtedly excited due to the potential of the Natural Gas discovery to be a game changer.

The Pathfinder Foundation (PF), which has played a pioneering role in taking issues of national interest to key stakeholders and the general public, is organizing a public discussion on ‘Natural Gas and Optimizing the Economic Utility’. The event is scheduled for October 14 from 2pm to 5pm at the Auditorium, Bandaranaike Center for International Studies (BCIS), BMICH.

Natural Gas exploration and associated downstream development will catapult the Sri Lankan economy to a newer orbit having a positive impact on the overall macroeconomic framework as well as enterprise level development. The growth scenario will be injected with further stimulus with economy-wide implications.

The PF seminar has lined up Sri Lanka’s most prominent experts in the power, energy and regulatory sectors. Professor Rohan Samarajiva will be chairing and moderating the session. He is an internationally renowned expert in Infrastructure and ICT Regulation. Among the other speakers is Raja Amarathunga from the Petroleum Sector, who currently functions as a consultant to the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka.

Secretary-General of the Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat, Saliya Wickramasuriya, will be a key speaker enriching the dialogue with his international expertise in the Oil and Gas Industry. Sri Lanka’s well-known Electricity Sector expert and consultant, Dr Tilak Siyambalapitiya will be discussing the critical issue of pricing of Natural Gas in the local market to create internationally competitive industries and services in Sri Lanka. The Private Sector Perspective on Opportunities and Challenges is the theme of Chas Charles, Director/ CEO of Hayleys Energy Services. His presentation is likely to attract the interest of the wider spectrum of stakeholders.

Debobroto Banerjee, Commercial Director, South Asia and Country Incharge Sri Lanka, GE Global Organization, South Asia will bring with him his vast experience and knowledge from an international perspectiveto the participants of the seminar.

The complex but interesting relationship between LNG and Renewable Energy will be the subject of the presentation by young & emerging expert Mr. Niro Cooke. Broader issues related to the negotiations of the Natural Gas Agreements between the host country and the exploration company, which is probably a new subject for the Sri Lankan audience, will be brought to the attention of the participants by a young PF intern, Deepthika Appuhamy, a Law graduate.

Professor Rohan Samarjiva, in addition to moderating the session, is expected to bring in a new perspective particularly on regulation of the Natural Gas sector in Sri Lanka. The seminar will be open for the public free of charge. Please register well in advance by e-mail to or call 0112372895/6 for participationin this seminar.

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