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Oil exploration survey begins off East coast

A joint venture from the world's largest oilfield services company Schlumberger and French-based Total began in the seas off the Eastern province today, as vessels began a seismic survey searching for oil.

The project, which was signed off by the Sri Lankan government earlier this year, will see the research vessel BGP Pioneer survey the area for up to 50 days.

"If the results of the 2-D (two dimensional survey is positive, a 3-D survey will start," Sri Lankan Petroleum Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said on Sunday.

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Sri Lanka currently produces no oil and spent $3.2 billion on oil imports last year. It also saw crippling fuel shortages and relied on emergency deliveries from India and friendly nations near the end of 2017.