The new Petroleum Resources Bill has been passed in Parliament with amendments.
Speaking during second reading debate in Parliament, Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila rejected all allegations that the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation will be privatised through the bill.
Minister Gammanpila said the bill was presented to resolve the current financial crisis and to develop a mechanism to help explore the oil and gas deposits near the Mannar basin.
The Minister said the bill will enable them to formulate the legal framework and an opportunity to explore undetected oil and gas reserves in Sri Lanka waters.
Minister Gammanpila noted that accordingly to the current valuations, the oil and gas deposits near the Mannar basin will be around US$ 280 billion.
He said the value of the entire loans obtained by the government is around US$ 35 billion while other government-affiliated entities have obtained US$ 12 billion.
Minister Gammanpila said the government of Sri Lanka has one of the lowest income rates.
He said therefore the bill and the measures taken to explore oil and gas deposits will help the country and the future generations.
Parliamentarian Kabir Hashim says it is futile to table new legislations to regulate the energy sector at a time, the government has handed over the Yugadanavi Power Plant in Kerawalapitiya.
MP Hashim said the LNG supply monopoly has been given to the US-based company through a deal. He said this will be a major threat to the energy sector and the national security.
MP Kabir Hashim is of the view that the government has betrayed the country through the deal and now attempting to distract the people through various means.