BPCL Eyes Venezuela Oil Deal with Reliance, IOCL
Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL), the state-owned oil refiner in India, is considering the procurement of oil from Venezuela following the lifting of US sanctions in October. Sanjay Khanna, the head of refineries at BPCL, mentioned the company's interest in purchasing Venezuelan oil during an industry event. Khanna stated that BPCL's refineries possess the capability to process Venezuelan oil, and the international trade department has been authorized to proceed with such purchases. He also clarified that while the imports from Venezuela are being explored, they will not pose a challenge to BPCL's imports of oil from Russia.
Reliance Industries, Indian Oil Corp, and HPCL-Mittal Energy, among Indian oil companies, have recently secured shipments of Venezuelan oil after the US lifted sanctions. India, being the world's third-largest oil purchaser, previously had substantial oil trade with Venezuela before the imposition of US sanctions. These sanctions led Indian oil firms to lose business to Chinese competitors in 2021. Since the temporary easing of US sanctions on Venezuela's oil industry in October, the oil trade sector has been anticipating whether India would resume its oil purchases from Venezuela.
Pre-sanctions, India used to import approximately 10 million barrels of oil monthly from Venezuela. Reliance, a private refiner, was reported to have procured an average of five large oil tankers monthly from Venezuela between 2018 and 2019, according to Viktor Katona, an analyst at Kpler, a firm specializing in this data. This month, it was revealed that Reliance Industries had arranged for two supertankers C. Earnest and C. Genuine to load crude oil shipments from Venezuela from December to early January. Additionally, Reliance had also chartered the Very Large Crude Carrier Eucal to transport Venezuelan crude to India in early December. Together, these three vessels have the capacity to transport up to 6 million barrels of crude oil.