India to invest 450 mIn for oil exploration in Venezuela

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Mumbai, Apr 5 (UNI) ONGC Videsh, the overseas arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), will invest 450 million dollars in oil exploration and production (E&P) in Venezuela, Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora today said.

The block in San Cristabel has a reserve of around 250 million metric tonnes and to expedite E&P in the area, the ONGC Videsh will sign an agreement with ''Petroleos de Venezuela SA'' next week, Mr Deora told newspersons here today.

The E&P sector has received a major boost through the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP), as it has opened up the sector for private and foreign investment and today 100 per cent FDI is permitted in the sector, Mr Deora remarked.

He said under NELP, 58 discoveries have been made so far in 17 blocks at an investment of approximately Rs 28,000 crore.

Petroleum&Natural Gas Secretary M S Srinivasan, while speaking to reporters later, said India would spend 300 billion dollars over the next five to seven years on oil exploration and production.

''The exploration and production business will cross over 5 trillion dollars in the next five to seven years,'' Mr Srinivasan added.

UNI PP MAZ PDT BD1512

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