OVL, which has 11 per cent stake in the project that will produce 20 million tonnes of oil in four years, is looking at buying Malaysia’s Petronas stake in the project.

India is likely to engage with Venezuela next month to seek more crude oil as well as gas assets to take the relationship toa new level, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Veerappa Moily said here on Tuesday.

ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL) is also working on a strategy to raise stake in the $20-billion Carabobo-I oil project in Venezuela.

OVL, which has 11 per cent stake in the project that will produce 400,000 barrels a day (bpd) of oil (20 million tonnes) in four years, is looking at buying Malaysia’s Petronas stakein the project. In addition, private sector companies such as Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL), Essar Oil, and HPCL-Mittal Energy Ltd. (HMEL)are planning to buy oil from the Latin American country.

“Indian companies’ representatives will visit Venezuela on October 7-8, and have concrete proposals worked out. We have excellent relations with Venezuela, which we want to deepen further. We are preparing a road map for the largest democracy in the world to have largest business in Venezuela. We are definitely asking for more oil fields and more crude,’’ Mr. Moily told reporters after a meeting with Rafael Ramirez, Minister of Energy and Mines of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Mr. Moily, who extended an invitation to President Nicolas Maduro to visit India, will visit Venezuela later. Mr. Ramirez said Venezuela had a contract to sell 400,000 bpd of oil to India.

“India has a huge refining capacity, which is designed to process medium and heavy crude oil, which we produce. We are talking to increase the quantity of oil exported to various companies. If the Indian companies want to increase participation in the Carabobo-I project, I would welcome it,’’ he added.

RIL now imports about 300,000 bpd of oil from Venezuela for processing at its twin refineries at Jamangar in Gujarat. It now wants to increase these volumes to the contracted level of 400,000 bpd.

IOC wants to start importing 0.5 million tonnes immediately, which it will raise to 1.5 million tonnes when its Paradip refinery is commissioned next year. HMEL, too, is looking at importing at least two million tonnes of Venezuelean oil for processing at its Bhatinda refinery in Punjab.

The Carabobo-1 project in the Orinoco heavy oil belt began limited production in March, and is planned to produce 480,000 bpd of oilat peak. The field requires $20 billion to develop and produce oil. The consortia, which had in 2010 paid $1.05 billion to win the project, is also investing in a separate 200,000 bpd upgrader to convert heavy crude into light crude oil.

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