An Indian company engaged in exploring oil in the seas of northern Sri Lanka has begun drilling a second well, the Sri Lankan government said on Saturday.
Cairn Lanka, a subsidiary of Cairn India, who had recently announced the discovery of oil in the Mannar basin has now begun drilling a second well to look for oil in the island nation.
The Sri Lankan Information Department said that in its first well, Cairn has found a 25-meter hydrocarbon deposit at a depth of 3,000 meters.
The Indian company has now started work on a second well after its first successful attempt, and also hopes to drill three wells under its exploration program, which is expected to be completed early in 2012.
Earlier this month, Cairn India announced that it had struck natural gas reserves in the very first well it drilled in the offshore Mannar basin of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka's Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa said that if Sri Lanka succeeds in finding oil in the Mannar, which is believed to hold around 1 billion barrels of oil, the country would no longer have to depend on importing oil from other countries, a prospect that would save billions of dollars to the country.
Cairn has said earlier this year that if Sri Lanka's drilling program is successful then commercial oil production can be expected by 2014 with a billion barrels.