Early 2013 could see Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) enter Venezuela’s oil and gas upstream space.

The company is evaluating assets and in 2-3 months there could be some progress, sources said. Venezuela does not offer exploration acreages, there are only developing or producing assets.

Companies looking to enter oil and gas upstream business there will have to acquire participating interest, sources said adding that this also goes down well with RIL’s decision to consolidate its exploration and production strategy. Reliance now wants to look at acquiring participating interests in already discovered areas.

Initially, Reliance was acquiring only exploration acreages across the geographies, from Peru to Australia. The company that had 12-conventional oil and gas blocks overseas, today is left with only seven and this number is likely to go down further. Reliance had acquired exploration acreages mainly because participating interests in already developed fields came at a premium. Most of the acreages were acquired through the bidding rounds, the official said.

Reliance, through its Reliance Exploration & Production DMCC arm, has seven oil and gas (conventional) overseas blocks. It has assets in Yemen (two), Peru (two), Australia (one) and Colombia (two), besides shale gas assets in the US.

The company has relinquished or exited blocks in East Timor (one), Oman (one), Kurdistan (two), and Yemen (one).

On October 3, Reliance had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Venezuela’s State oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, SA to further the development of Venezuelan heavy oil fields. According to the MoU, Reliance will explore upstream options for joint participation in heavy oil projects of the Orinoco Oil Belt.

A consortium of Indian companies –— ONGC Videsh, Oil India, and Indian Oil Corporation — has been awarded two development blocks (C1 Central & North) located in Carabobo area of Orinoco Heavy Oil Belt, Venezuela.


(This article was published on November 25, 2012)
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