Essar Oil in talks with Colombian co to raise imports

Written by Huma Siddiqui | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 20 2013, 07:40am hrs
Ecopetrol, the Colombian gas major and the fourth-largest oil and gas company in Latin America, is set to cement its ties with Essar Oil. A three-member high-level delegation from Ecopetrol, along with the ambassador of Colombia to India and other senior officials, held extensive meetings with Essar Oil on Wednesday in Mumbai. Talks revolved around increasing crude oil exports by Ecopetrol for meeting Essar's Jamnagar refinery needs.

Ecopetrol, which already exports around 24 million barrels of crude to Essar Oil worth nearly $2 billion, is looking to increase exports significantly. The company has been associated with Essar for over a year and a half.

Confirming the development, Juan Alfredo Pinto, the ambassador of Colombia to India said: The purpose of the visit is to show the delegation from Colombia, the refineries at Jamnagar and Jetty, and take talks to the next level. For our country, Essar Oil is a great partner and we need to increase not only the oil exports to its refinery, but also we want to define its presence in our projects in infrastructure, ICT and engineering sector."

When contacted, the Indian envoy to Colombia and Ecuador, Riewad Warjri, confirmed Ecopetrols growing interest of in Essar Oil. An Essar Oil spokesperson also confirmed the meeting but said it was a mere courtesy call.

According to Warjri not only Essar Oil, but other Indian majors in the oil and gas sector are looking at Colombia, Ecquador and Venezuela among others in the backdrop of growing crisis in Syria.

ONGC-OVL, which is already in 5 blocks in Colombia, has been asked by the government to look for more joint ventures. Similarly, in Equador, OVL is in active talks for partnership in oil and gas exploration.

Giving an update on the the ONGC-OVL in Colombia, Indian envoy Warjri told FE, "Both OVL under its joint venture company named Mansarovar Energy Colombia are engaged in 2-3 blocks exploration and production."

"In fact, Colombian National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH), the concerned authority and regulator, is very professional and has a commercial approach with a very systematic tendering system," he pointed out.

Warjri also pointed out that Ecuador is interested in ONGC-OVL and the two sides have had several meetings.

Confirming the same, director (exploration, OVL) NK Verma said, "In Ecuador, we have been in discussions and are currently participating in 3 blocks which has been progressing well. In fact, we are in the process of submitting bids."

"In Colombia, we have five blocks three off shore and two on shore. OVL has three offshore exploration blocks in Colombia 2 blocks in collaboration with Ecopetrol (the National Oil Company of Colombia) and one block in collaboration with Ecopetrol and Petrobras. Also, we have two on shore blocks Block CPO 5 is in the highly prospective onshore Llanos Basin and Block SSJN 7 is in prospective onshore Sinu San Jacinto Basin, he added.