Russian oil giant Gazprom has sent a four-member delegation to discuss oil and gas exploration possibilities in Sri Lanka, a top minister said here on Tuesday.
Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premajayantha told media that a four member technical team has arrived in Sri Lanka to study seismic data.
If they are impressed, the government hopes Gazprom will bid for a block off the north-western sea of Sri Lanka where Indian oil giant Cairn has already found two natural gas wells.
The ministry has stated that there is a total of five blocks earmarked for exploration.
Another team from the Indian Oil and Natural Gas Company is scheduled to arrive next week, said Premajayantha.
The renewed interest in Sri Lanka comes after Cairn India discovered two natural gas deposit wells in October and earlier this month.
The company has insisted that it is impossible to decide the financial viability of the wells before the first quarter of 2012.
The Sri Lankan government is hopeful that this will be the start to reliable oil exploration in the country that currently supports a hefty oil bill in imports.
The Gazprom visit was instigated by discussions between Russian authorities and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Based on bilateral relations, Vietnam has also agreed to commence oil exploration following an official tour by its leader in mid-October.