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Venezuela to help in oil hunt

New Delhi, Oct. 7 (PTI): Venezuelan national oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) will help Oil India Ltd (OIL) exploit about $2 billion worth of heavy crude oil in Baghewala oilfield in Rajasthan.

The field is estimated to have over 35 million tonnes of bitumen and around 16 million tonnes of heavy crude oil.

State-run exploration firm OIL today signed an agreement for carrying out consultancy service/technical collaboration, including detailed geo-scientific and reservoir engineering studies of Baghewala oilfield.

The agreement was signed by Walter Marquez, ambassador of Venezuela to India, and OIL director (exploration) S. K. Patra.

“PDVSA will provide us technology for bringing out the heavy crude oil, as well as, making it useable as feedstock in power plants,” Patra said.

Marquez said heavy crude deposits have been discovered in India’s northwest zones of Rajasthan and Gujarat. There exist vast possibilities of huge reservoirs of light and medium crudes between Bikaner-Nagaur basin in Rajasthan.

“Venezuela, which holds world’s largest heavy oil reserves, can help India exploit these,” he said.

The agreement would lead to pilot plant experiment for exploitation of heavy oil and bitumen with subsequent development plan and utilisation options.

OIL director (finance) M. R. Pasrija said 15-16 million tonnes of crude oil can be recovered from the Rajasthan field.

India is 70 per cent import dependant to meet its 117 million tonnes of crude oil requirement.

PDVSA, in phase-I, would carry out detailed reservoir and geoscientific studies for selection of suitable recovery technique and plant design.

In the second phase, PDVSA would be associated during the implementation of pilot scale production, which would be followed by preparation of development plan and utilisation options, Marquez said.

Heavy oil and bitumen were discovered by OIL in 1991. OIL had been on the look out for suitable technology since then. The heavy oil block was also offered under joint venture exploration programme in 1995 but the production sharing contract could not be finalised.

In 1999, heavy oil exploitation was included in the agenda of Indo-Venezuelan joint working group. PDVSA is the national oil company of Venezuela and the largest producer of heavy oil in Opec.

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