"We are looking at two things in Venezuela. One is, we have a long term (crude oil) supply contract and we are looking at enhancing the quantities under this contract, possibly from next year," RIL executive director PMS Prasad told reporters on sidelines of a FICCI event. (Agencies)
RIL currently imports about 3,00,000 barrels per day of oil from Venezuela for processing at its twin refineries at Jamangar in Gujarat. It now wants to increase these volumes, possibly to 4,00,000 bpd.
"The second is, we are also looking at investing in Venezuela. They have given us 2-3 opportunities to evaluate and make a decision. So, in the next few months, we will complete our evaluation and make a decision," he said. Venezuela has offered 2-3 ossil blocks.
Years after it dropped out of a ONGC-led consortium for developing Venezuela's giant oil fields, RIL is now keen on taking a project to produce heavy oil in the South American nation.
Last year, RIL signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, to develop a project in the Orinoco extra heavy crude belt.
Though Prasad did not elaborate on the ‘opportunities’ offered by Venezuela, RIL may be looking at the Boyaca 4 block and a separate section in the Ayacucho area of the Orinoco belt. Both these areas can produce 2,00,000 bpd (10 million tonnes a year) each.
He, however, said that the project may involve developing the field and setting up an upgrader to convert the synthetic oil into oil, which can be processed in refineries.
Last year, RIL had also signed a new agreement to buy more crude oil from Venezuela. It had in 2008 signed a deal to buy 1,50,000 bpd of oil, which was gradually raised to 2,70,000 bpd.
Under the new 15-year agreement, the South American country would sell between 3,00,000 and 4,00,000 bpd.
RIL operates twin refineries at Jamnagar with a total refining capacity of 1.24 million barrels a day. Half of its crude diet can be heavy oil. Prasad said that RIL is looking at opportunities to invest in Mexico, Iraq, Canada and Myanmar.
In 2009, RIL was supposed to bid with the Indian consortium of ONGC Videsh Ltd, Indian Oil Corp and Oil India Ltd for one of the three giant oil blocks Venezuela was offering through auction. It, however, walked out of the consortium possibly due to delays in bidding.
After RIL's exit, OVL-IOC-OIL teamed up with Repsol YPF SA, Spain's biggest oil company, and Malaysia's Petronas to make a successful bid for the massive Carabobo-1 project in Venezuela's Orinoco heavy oil belt. The field, which had about 50 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, can produce a minimum of 4,00,000 bpd of oil.
"We are looking at two things in Venezuela. One is, we have a long term (crude oil) supply contract and we are looking at enhancing the quantities under this contract, possibly from next year," RIL executive director PMS Prasad told reporters on sidelines of a FICCI event.