New Delhi: India and hydrocarbon-rich Venezuela on Friday held wide-ranging discussions on further enhancing cooperation in diverse sectors including trade, investment, oil exploration and information technology and decided to explore new areas of cooperation.
In their talks, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Venezuela`s Minister of Popular Power for Foreign Relations Elias Jaua Milano decided to explore new areas of cooperation besides boosting trade and investment.
Venezuela is India`s largest trading partner in Latin America and supplies crude oil to India. The volume of bilateral trade between the two countries was USD 14.35 billion in 2012-13.
"The entire gamut of bilateral relations besides various regional and multilateral issues were discussed in the meeting," Khurshid told reporters.
India`s exports to the country include chemicals, textiles and engineering products such as scooters, equipment and machinery. The Indian pharma industry has a significant presence in the country.
The main items of India`s imports from Venezuela are crude oil, iron pellets and electrical cables.
Milano said his country would like greater cooperation with India in oil exploration sector.
ONGC Videsh Limited, Indian Oil Corporation and Oil India Ltd are part of the USD 20 billion Carabobo oil project in the Orinoco belt of Venezuela. The project is aimed at producing 400,000 barrels per day of oil (20 million tonnes) in four years.
The Reliance Industries Ltd gets about 20 per cent of its oil needs from Venezuela. RIL currently imports about 300,000 bpd of oil from Venezuela for processing at its twin refineries at Jamangar in Gujarat.
"We are eager to ensure India`s energy security and would like to have more cooperation in oil exploration sector," Milano said.