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Updated: August 18, 2009 01:35 IST

RIL pulls out of OVL-IOC consortium

Special Correspondent
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Mukesh Ambani comes out of PMO's office after a recent meeting in New Delhi. Photo: V.V.Krishnan
Mukesh Ambani comes out of PMO's office after a recent meeting in New Delhi. Photo: V.V.Krishnan

Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has pulled out of the consortium of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Videsh Limited (OVL) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) aimed at primarily bidding jointly for a $16-18 billion oilfield in Venezuela.

RIL is learnt to have informed OVL officials about its move that it was no longer interested in pursuing the partnership. OVL, RIL, IOC and Oil India had, in April this year, joined hands to consider jointly bidding for a 40 per cent stake in a field in the vast Orinoco heavy crude oil belt. “Venezuela has delayed bidding for the project and this could be one of the reasons why RIL lost interest,” officials said.

Moving swiftly in order to minimise the impact of RIL’s pullout, OVL is learnt to have opened talks with global energy firms and is even willing to take a smaller role in case a major company joins the consortium. OVL is keen on getting at least one of the three massive fields in the Carabobo region of the Orinoco belt that Venezuela may put on offer. Venezuelan state-run Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PdVSA) will retain the remaining 60 per cent.

IOC was to take 2.5-5 per cent interest while OIL was assigned a 2.5 per cent stake. The remaining 32.5-35 per cent was to be split almost equally between OVL and Reliance. OVL is willing to settle for a smaller stake in case a global energy major joins, the official said. Companies ranging from US giant Chevron to China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) have been evaluating the offer.

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