Russia to explore oil in Sri Lanka

Feb 12, 2010 01:00 AM

Russia has agreed to start oil and gas exploration in the seas off Mannar after President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited the Russian Gas and Oil company Gazprom, Moscow.
The President held talks with the Chief Executive of the company Alexei B. Miller at their head office in Moscow. The Russian company also agreed to give Sri Lanka concessions in the purchase of refined and crude oil.

At present an Indian based British oil exploration company is engaged in oil exploration in one of identified eight blocks. President Rajapaksa invited Gazprom to explore oil and gas in the other blocks at his talks with Miller.
Gazprom is the largest gas company in the world and supplies gas to a number of countries including 30 European nations with an annual supply of 500 mm cm. Therefore their experience in oil and gas exploration ranks high.

At present Russian refined oil is supplied to Sri Lanka through Singapore and after President Rajapaksa's talks with the Russian authorities it has been decided to supply refined oil direct from Russian without an intermediary party.
Gazprom will also be supplying oil through pipelines to India and China and Chairman Alexei Miller informed the President that Sri Lanka will also be benefited by this new project of the company. There was a positive response to President Mahinda Rajapaksa's request for assistance to develop power needed for rapid expansion of the national economy.

The Presidential entourage included First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa, Ministers Susil Premajayantha, Prof G.L. Peiris, Anura Priydarashana Yapa, Rohitha Bogollagama, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa and Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa said though certain world powers made efforts to change our decision to defeat the terrorist group they had forgotten that the LTTE had caused unarmed civilians of the country inestimable harm for 30 years.
"But we are grateful to the Government and the people of Russia for supporting us with determination during our struggle to defeat terrorism in our country," President Rajapaksa said during the Sri Lanka cultural performance in Moscow.

The President addressing the Vice Chancellor, the academic staff and students of the People's Friendship University, Moscow said: "We cannot forget the lessons learned during the military operations against the LTTE terrorists. The terrorists were carrying on a fearful vilification campaign against our country worldwide."
"Therefore, world opinion was against us and during the past four years and there were international pressure exerted on us as the opinion held was that we were a savage country flouting human rights. However, much pressure was exerted on us, we fought the terrorists till they were totally defeated on our soil by our valiant forces last May."

President Rajapaksa said it is no secret that our people had to make considerable sacrifices to help the Armed Forces to defeat the LTTE terrorists.
"We have now achieved peace and held elections. After winning the Presidential Election by a 58 % vote, I have made my first trip abroad to Russia to be among people who had always been our friends," he said. "It is a good omen for the future of our country. This visit will further strengthen the friendship between our two countries that is more than a century old. We are also achieving rapid economic development after peace was achieved. Like Russia that achieved rapid economic development we too are working towards increasing our national per capita income to $ 4,000 by 2015 that is double our present per capita income."

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