India will be hosting Venezuela’s president for the International Solar Alliance (ISA) summit next month, in a sign of the attention that New Delhi is paying to South America to build economic relations. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro will be in New Delhi at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Confirming the visit, diplomatic sources told FE, “Prime Minister Modi has invited President Maduro for the ISA next month. Besides the ISA, the agenda for the discussions between the two leaders is in the process of being finalised.” Maduro was expected to visit India last year; however, back then the visit had not been confirmed. Both New Delhi and Caracas have been working on continuing their joint investments in the energy sector. Venezuela’s PDVSA and ONGC have agreed to further invest in the San Cristobal joint venture (JV) over the next few years to increase production.
As reported by FE earlier, the two companies had signed a contract to increase production in the Orinoco Oil Belt worth $318 million and in 2017 the first high-pressure water pump, part of a multimillion-dollar deal, was inaugurated. Diplomatic sources told FE that India continues to be one of the largest buyers of Venezuelan crude. Over 400,000 bpd continues to be procured by Indian companies.
“In view of the large and growing refining capacity in India, firms such as IOCL (for their refinery in Paradip) are ready to procure crude from Venezuela. This would be a possibility in future when production of Venezuelan crude increases,” one source said. “The other oil JV in Venezuela with participation of Indian firms (OVL, IOCL and Oil India) is expected to do better as infrastructure in the area develops and the economic situation in Venezuela improves,” the source said. Venezuela, on its part, also plans to significantly increase crude oil supply to India and is negotiating with Reliance Industries, its major customer, for a joint venture in the OPEC country’s energy industry.
Besides the hydrocarbon sector, Venezuela has identified pharmaceuticals and auto parts where it wants support from India. Indian companies have been a major supplier of medicines to the Latin American country and enjoys acceptance in the Venezuelan market due to quality and competitive prices.