ONGC and PDVSA to use India's refining capacity, access to Asia-Pacific markets

August 14, 2006
NEW DELHI (The Hindu Business Line) -- ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas investment outfit of India's Oil & Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), is now looking toward Latin American countries such as Venezuela for more oil and gas equity.

A tie-up between ONGC and national oil company of Venezuela, PDVSA, may be around the corner.

With socio-political scenario in African countries such as Angola and Nigeria not looking very conducive, global oil majors are now forced to scout for alternatives, sources told Business Line adding that a detailed meeting for energy cooperation between ONGC and the Venezuelan national oil company took place here last Thursday.

Indications are that OVL may combine forces with other international oil and gas companies to tap exploration opportunities in Venezuela. The high-level delegation of PDVSA discussed among other issues business opportunities being pursued by OVL in Venezuela, sources added. When contacted, R.S. Sharma, Chairman and Managing Director of ONGC, said, "We are looking at various markets and projects. Tying up with national oil companies is always good."

The Venezuelan side is understood to have proposed that both ONGC and PDVSA should explore the possibility of benefiting from sourcing of Venezuelan crude on long-term basis and synergizing the same with Indian refining capacity with access to vast Indian and Asia-Pacific markets.

Both sides agreed to set up a joint group to study and propose suitable mechanism for collaboration in this area, they added. The vice president of PDVSA, Luis Vierma Perez, led the Venezuelan delegation.

At the meeting, according to sources, Vierma said that while energy requirements of India can be met by Venezuela, the latter can benefit from the vast resources that India has in terms of engineering skills, human resource, expertise in offshore and other spheres of oil exploration and production.

It was also decided to hold by-annual technical workshops on exchange of knowledge especially in the areas of advanced drilling technology alternatively in India and Venezuela. The first such workshop is scheduled for November in India, and second would be planned for March 2007 in Venezuela. ONGC is one of the few multinational companies invited by the Venezuelan Government to participate in the biggest-ever reserve quantification and certification project in Orinoco heavy oil belt along with other companies.