India's oil major ONGC to invest 450 million dollars in Venezuela

Business Materials 5 April 2008 14:20 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) will be investing about 450 million dollars in Venezuela where it has picked up a 40-per-cent stake in an oil field, India's Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said on Saturday.

The state-run company acquired the stake in the San Cristobal oil field in the Orinoco basin which has a reserve of about 250 million tons, Deora told reporters in India's western city of Mumbai.

The minister said he would be leaving for Venezuela on Sunday to sign an agreement with the Venezuelan national oil company PDVSA, which holds the remaining 60-per-cent stake through its subsidiary, CVP.

ONGC picked up the stake through its overseas investment arm, ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), which is setting up a joint venture company with CVP.

According to India's Petroleum Ministry, OVL is playing an important role in catering to the country's energy security.

OVL has a presence in 15 countries where it is involved in about 29 oil and gas projects.

Deora also said that he would soon meet Iranian and Pakistani officials to discuss the 7-billion-dollar Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project, which has been opposed by the United States.

"We hope to resolve the issue soon. There are only some pricing and cess issues to be discussed," Deora said adding that he would meet the officials of both countries on April 23.

A cess is a tax.

Under the proposed project, a pipeline of around 2,000 kilometres is to be laid, initially carrying 60 million cubic metres of Iranian gas to Pakistan and India.

The pipeline capacity would later be increased to 150 million cubic metres.