New Delhi: Venezuela has agreed to give oil to ONGC Videsh to help the Indian public sector company recover its USD 600 million dues as dividend for the stake that it holds in an oilfield in the Latin American country, Petroleum Secretary Pankaj Jain said on Wednesday.
ONGC Videsh (OVL), the overseas investment arm of ONGC, holds a 40 per cent stake in the San Cristobal field in eastern Venezuela’s Orinoco Heavy Oil belt, in which Venezuela’s state oil company PdVSA holds the majority share.
“They have agreed to give us some oil in lieu of OVL’s dues. We are waiting for the lifting dates from them,” Jain told journalists.
India will purchase oil from Venezuela as the sanctions against the Latin American country have been lifted, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri said recently.
The minister also said some Indian money is locked up in Venezuela, referring to ONGC’s pending USD 600 million in dividends since 2014 as the returns on its stake in Venezuelan oil and gas projects.
Indian refining companies such as Indian Oil and Reliance Industries have already started buying oil from Venezuela after the US lifted sanctions in October as part of Washington’s strategy to squeeze out Russian oil from the market.
Indian oil companies have been making large purchases of Russian oil after the Ukraine war broke out as it is available at a discounted price. In fact, Russia accounts for over one-third of India’s oil imports.
Indian refineries, including Indian Oil’s Paradip unit, are capable of using the heavy Venezuelan oil.
India imports more than 80 per cent of its crude oil requirement and is currently the third largest consumer in the world. Buying oil from diversified sources helps oil companies to get it at a lower price.