Sri Lanka's Petroleum minister Susil Premajayantha recently announced that offshore drilling in the Mannar basin will commence from late January 2011 to May 2011. Here is an AlJazeera Fault Lines program on the pitfalls and tragedies as a result of neglect amidst lax rules and regulations over the course of decades long drilling in the US Gulf coast:
In the two months since the Deepwater Horizon explosion, millions of litres of oil have gushed out of BP's well into the water each day, slowly encroaching on the coastline. Fault Lines' Avi Lewis travels to the drill zone, and learns about the erosion in the wetlands from industry canals and pipelines, the health problems blamed on contaminated air and water from petrochemical refineries.
AlJazeeraEnglish — June 17, 2010
Writing on minister Susil Premajayantha's announcement on Mannar offshore plans, a recent column in the Colombo weekend newspaper The Sunday Leader said:
"Off shore drilling is increasingly becoming a more frequent activity as oil reserves with easier access are fast depleting all over the world. It is much riskier and more expensive than conventional drilling and the current crisis in the Gulf of Mexico happened after BP’s deep sea oil rig exploded 5000 feet below sea level.
Sri Lanka stands to make a lot of money from possible gains from oil deposits but a lot will depend on how intelligently it designs and enforces its contracts. Many oil rich states have failed to capitalize on their natural wealth due to corruption and exploitation and have even given rise to acts of terrorism like in the Niger delta." - Offshore Drilling in Mannar, Sri Lanka Next Year [Sunday Leader]
But apart from the challenges of making possible gains from the oil deposits, AlJazeera's Fault Line exposes how lax rules and regulations is destroying a way of life and livelihood of a whole lot of people even more.
Other News: In Niger Delta: Far From Gulf, a Spill Scourge 5 Decades Old [NY Times]