OVL, RIL sign exploration pacts with Venezuela's PdVSA

Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PdVSA) has signed separate agreements with state-run ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) and private sector giant Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), in a sign of increasing cooperation between India and the South American country in oil exploration.

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and the Venezuelan state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, SA (PdVSA) have signed a joint study agreement under which the two parties will jointly evaluate development plans for the Ayacucho Block 8 in the Orinoco oil belt.

RIL and PdVSA also signed a 15-year contract under which the Venezuelan oil major will supply heavy crude oil to RIL's refineries in India.

PdVSA will supply between 300,000 and 400,000 barrels per day of Venezuelan heavy crude oil to RIL's two refineries in Jamnagar .

RIL and PdVSA also extended the term of the MoU signed between the parties last year by one year for continued cooperation.

The signing of the joint study agreement for Ayacucho Block 8 and the extension of MoU marks further strengthening of the long standing relationship between RIL and PdVSA as well as between India and Venezuela, RIL said in a release.

Meanwhile, ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas arm of state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC), has also signed an MoU with PdVSA for new development.

The agreement envisages OVL's strategic cooperation and participation in the exploration and production of hydrocarbon resources in the oil-rich Faja area of Venezuela. This would facilitate OVL and PdVSA to explore available opportunities through joint collaboration and hence, enhance OVL's interest in Venezuela, according to a statement issued by ONGC.

OVL managing director D K Sarraf  and PdVSA director Ruben Iguera signed the MoU on the conclusion of the first Indo-Venezuela Hydrocarbon Business Roundtable in Caracas held during 7-9 October 2013.

''This MoU underlines the spirit of collaboration and mutual respect between two E&P giants of India and Venezuela. Venezuela has world's highest reserves and we have a huge market. We intend to use this opportunity to further our interests in this oil rich country,'' Sudhir Vasudeva, chairman ONGC group of companies, stated on the occasion.

OVL currently has stakes in two producing projects in Venezuela - Petro-Carabobo and Petro-Indovenezolana - with investments of about $341 million.