Reliance to buy Venezuelan crude

India's Reliance Petroleum Ltd. has signed a deal with Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) SA agreeing to buy 20 million bbl of crude next year, according to a report from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' news agency, OPECNA.

The contract, signed Dec. 14, is thought to represent India's largest single purchase of crude from Venezuela.

PDVSA was quoted as saying the agreement calls for eight 2 million bbl shipments of Leona 24˚-gravity crude, followed by two shipments that will be "subject to a separate accord between the two countries."

The deal builds on a commercial relationship started in April when PDVSA sold Reliance 1.7 million bbl of Leona and Mesa 30˚-gravity crudes. Since, there have been three further shipments, bringing the total this year to 7.4 million bbl.

The crude to be shipped under this latest deal will go to the Reliance-owned Jamnagar refinery in Western India.

Reliance reportedly is interested in the exploring the possibility of importing Venezuela's Orimulsion boiler fuel for its power stations across India.

Earlier this month, a delegation from another Indian company, the Nagarjuna group, met with PDVSA regarding the possibility of buying Venezuelan crude.

The Nagarjuna group, which is setting up a 6 million tons/year refinery, is interested in purchasing about 8 million bbl/year of Venezuelan crude and has also expressed interest in purchasing PDVSA's trademark boiler fuel Orimulsion.

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