Micheal Quinn, Cairn's head of International Exploration & New Ventures told a forum in Colombo that once agreement is reached with the government Cairn expects to conduct more studies and begin field development by 2015.
In quarterly results released this week by Cairn India, the parent of the Sri Lanka unit, said it was appraising its gas discoveries and the government has granted an extension of the current exploration phase up to April 2014.
Cairn found gas in two of its wells, which it named Dorado and Barracuda.
Quinn said Dorado was the more promising of the two wells and Barracuda was a 'problem child' but still had promise.
Oil companies usually have to appraise and also drill more wells to find the extent and commercial viability of a petroleum find and decide where to sink a production well.
Field development involves building the infrastructure to extract and move the oil or gas.
Field development may take two to three years, with off-shore field development being more complex than on-shore development.Head of Sri Lanka's petroleum exploration office has said that gas production could begin by 2017 or 2018.