By Jithendra Antonio
July 08, 2013 (LBT) - Former Sri Lanka's veteran Civil Engineer Arumadura Nandasena Silva Kulasinghe's (Better know as A.N.S. Kulasinghe's) son Harith Kulasinghe will unveil Sri Lanka's first home grown - only indigenous oil and gas exploration and production company - Ceylan Energy today. The company will officially announce its launch from Ja-Ela, Western Province, Sri Lanka a city close to offshore Mannar Basin - the frontier Petroleum Destination in Sri Lanka.
Bringing together some of the country's leading oil and gas professionals, Ceylan Energy is committed to long term investment in Sri Lanka, Ceylan Energy's strengths lie in its in-depth local knowledge, its strong network of contacts and homegrown team who are dedicated to maximizing the island's oil and gas potential according to company's officials.
Today Morning Harith Kulasinghe better known as Harry Kulasinghe will make an important announcement regarding hydrocarbon exploration and production (E&P) activities in Sri Lanka. This announcement has been timed to coincide with the start of the 'Sri Lanka E&P Symposium' being hosted by the Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat (PRDS).
Meanwhile a report also said that Ceylan Energy, Sri Lanka's only home grown Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Company, will be making a bid for an oil exploration license when the second round of licenses are announced. "Yes we will be bidding by forming partnerships with major oil and gas operators," Chairman Harry Kulasinghe had told reporter s adding that company brings together some of Sri Lanka's leading oil and gas professionals who are committed to maximizing the island's resources and developing its energy industry.
According to Kulasinghe The launch of Ceylan Energy marks an important step in the development of Sri Lanka's energy sector. He had highlighted that his team has over years of collective oil and gas experience, in-depth local knowledge and an invaluable network of contacts. "As a company with an entirely homegrown team, we are determined to maximise the island's resources and nurture our local industry" Kulasinghe had told adding his company Ceylan Energy is also sponsoring Sri Lanka's first E&P symposium, which will take place between July 8 and 12 in Colombo and Kandy.
The event, organised by the country's Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat (PRDS), will showcase the commercial, cultural and social benefits of working in Sri Lanka.The symposium will promote Sri Lanka's upcoming second licensing round, due to take place late this year. For this licensing round, 13 blocks have been designated in the Sri Lankan sectors of the Cauvery and Mannar basins located to the North and West of Sri Lanka, respectively.
The final deadline for Second Round of Licensing bids was said to be September 30, 2013 but PRDS announced a 2 month extension of the deadline for the submission of bids - until November 29, 2013.and the PRDS hopes to sign agreements by the first quarter of 2014.
Meanwhile PRDS have said that taking into account the vintage and coverage of data in some blocks, PRDS may accept a substantial data acquisition and interpretation programme as a subsitute for a commitment well in Phase 1. The expectation of PRDS remains, however, that where data is modern and of good coverage,bidders will commit at least one well in Phase 1, which would attract a higher score than a contingent well for the same block.
Harry Kulasinghe is a Chartered Electrical Engineer who began his career as an industrial apprentice with John Brown Engineering in Clydebank. He became a service engineer and later became involved in designing electrical control systems for the drilling industry, before moving into general management and business development. He 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.
Upul Kulasinghe, Harry's brother who is also in the board of Ceylan Energy has 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 specializing in project start-up and situation retrieval. At present Upul Kulasinghe is consulting to an upstream oil and gas company on rationalizing 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.
Father of Harry and Upul was former veteran Sri Lankan Civil Engineer Arumadura Nandasena Silva Kulasinghe (A.N.S. Kulasinghe) was the founder of several engineering organizations in Sri Lanka.
In 1962 Kulasinghe Senior became the founder Chairman and General Manager of the State Engineering Corporation of Ceylon while serving as Director of State Hardware Corporation, Ceylon Steel Corporation, Lanka Leyland Ltd., Colombo Low Lying Areas Reclamation Board, Ceylon Tyre Corporation and Council Member of Ceylon Bureau of Standards; Member, Board of Regents Vidyalankara University. Having been appointed as Chief Engineer, Colombo Port Commission in 1963 he was appointed Commissioner of the Colombo Port Commission in 1968. He retired from the State Engineering Corporation in 1971 and left the country returning in 1977. He was a devout Buddhist and helped construct the Kotmale Mahaweli Maha Seya and the Buddha Jayanthi Chaithya at the Colombo harbor. Also, the Polgolla Bund, State Engineering Corporation head office and the Colombo Planetarium were also designed by Kulasinghe. In 1946 Kulasinghe got married to Dulcie de Silva. They had two sons, Upul and Harith. Kulasinghe died on 14 February 2006 after a brief illness at the age of 86.
Kulasinghes' Ceylan Energy's team include Surath Ovitigama, Cecil Goonetilleke, Sas Mahadeva Ratnam Sathananthan and Diwin Amarasinghe.
Surath Ovitigama is a mechanical and technical safety engineer with ten years experience in the offshore oil & gas industry. He joined AMEC in Aberdeen (NASDAQ: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.
Cecil Goonetilleke is a member of the Energy Institute, Cecil became a chartered engineer through the Institute of Production Engineers in 1977 and has 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.
Cecil's management experience covers multi-discipline facilities and engineering projects. His most recent assignment was for AkerSolutions in Malaysia, where he was instrumental in setting up the local engineering department.
Sas Mahadeva 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 specialized 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.
Ratnam Sathananthan has 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 works as a consultant petroleum exploration geophysicist in the oil and gas industry specializing 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. Diwin has a MSc in Discrete Mathematics and Computer Sciences from Brunel University in London and a Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Geophysical Techniques from Imperial College, London. His BSc was in Geology, Physics and Chemistry.
Latest Trends in Sri Lanka's Oil Exploration Activities
Currently Indian oil player, Cairn India's Sri Lankan subsidiary Cairn Lanka has an exploratory drilling license off Sri Lanka's shores. Cairn India mother entity of Cairn Lanka had recently said they the plans are underway to commence its next exploration phase after mid this year. However Cairn Lanka's fourth well in the second phase was plugged and abandoned and that time the company notified that they encountered multiple thick high quality reservoir sands, which were not hydrocarbon bearing.
Cairn Lanka entered into the second phase of oil exploration in the Mannar basin with the drilling of the fourth well on February 2, three months before the scheduled date due to the early availability of a rig. However that time the Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat (PRDS) said Cairn's fourth exploratory well was compromised after the drill ship temporarily lost its bearings.
Back in early 2012 Cairn Lanka notified the government of Sri Lanka of its intention to enter the second phase of exploration after the third well drilled in the North Western coast of the island CLPL-Dorado North 1-82K/1 was plugged and abandoned as a dry hole on 14th December, 2011, but since the drilling programme resulted in two successive gas and condensate discoveries: the CLPL-Dorado-91H/1z well and, the CLPL-Barracuda-1G/1 well.
Cairn had spent over US $ 150 million more than the estimated US $ 112 million for the first phase with Japan Drilling Company lead Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology owned Fifth Generation Drill Ship 'Chikyu' for over 157 days campaign, and further in its second phase that hired a Drill Ship from one of the world's largest offshore oil drilling contractors- Swiss based Transocean Ltd owned 'Discoverer Seven Seas' Drill Ship for a nearly 40 days campaign in which Cairn India paid over US $ 490,000 per day to use the rig for drilling works offshore Sri Lanka between February and March 2013. However Cairn Lanka's successful drilling campaign was the first for Sri Lanka in 30 years that has established a working petroleum system in the frontier Mannar Basin.
Back in 1970's Seismic work done earlier by Norway's TGS Nopec Geophysical Co ASA showed some potential in the northern Cauvery Basin, which on the Indian side has producing wells, and in a basin off the island's southern coast.
On the contrary back in March 2011, Former Director General of Petroleum Resources in Sri Lanka, Dr. Neil De Silva had said that the Sri Lanka's oil rich Mannar Basin which just 160 kilometers towards North of Chilaw could hold over 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe). However in former PRDS Director General Neil de Silva, a Sri Lankan-born Canadian citizen, quit his post on April 31, 2011 and flew back to Canada while insiders revealed although De Silva's remuneration package was said to be highly rewarded, Sri Lankan state authorities were not satisfactory of De Silva's work performance. While no formal announcement about Dr. De Silva's resignation had been made to date, later Saliya Wickramasuriya, a petroleum industry professional who is a former chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and Board of Investment, was appointed as a consultant to the Sri Lankan President on oil exploration and was later appointed as the Director General since 4th November 2012.
Earlier Russia's natural gas monopoly Gazprom and Malaysian state oil company Petronas have held talks with Sri Lanka on potential exploration, and Vietnam and Sri Lanka signed a deal on oil and gas cooperation in October, 2011.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.