MUMBAI, July 11 (Reuters) - Indian state-run oil companies plan to boost investments in Venezuela and source higher volumes of crude oil from the South American country, India’s junior industry minister said on Wednesday.
An Indian consortium led by ONGC Videsh, the overseas investment arm of oil explorer ONGC, plans to invest $2.2 billion in the Carabobo oil field project, and another $500 million in the San Cristobel oil field, Jyotiraditya Scindia said in a statement.
India, the world’s fourth-largest oil importer, imports about 80 percent of its crude needs, and has been scouting for oil and gas assets abroad to meet rising local demand and to feed its expanding refining capacity.
State-run companies ONGC and Oil India have identified U.S., Canada, South America, Australia and parts of Africa for acquisitions. ONGC Videsh has already invested $350 million in Venezuela’s San Cristobel field.
India and Venezuela earlier agreed to boost ties in the energy sector by jointly building refineries in the two countries and extending shipping lines. India has already invited Venezuela to partner Indian Oil Corp’s planned refinery in the eastern Odisha state.
State-run GAIL India is also looking for opportunities in the natural gas sector in Venezuela, while refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp is keen to export base oil to the South American country, Scindia said.
Reporting by Prashant Mehra; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee