New Delhi, July 1 : India and Cuba have finalised India Cuba Hydrocarbon agreement for cooperation in the oil and gas sector.
This emerged at an hour long meeting between Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora and his counterpart from Cuba Yadira Garcia Vera, Minister of Basic Industry, in the afternoon yesterday (evening India time) at Madrid (Spain) on the occasion of the 19th World Petroleum Congress.
Recognising the need for such a mechanism for facilitating further cooperation between the two countries, the two sides agreed that Indian Petroleum Minister would visit Cuba for signing the agreement, which could coincide with spudding of oil wells by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Videsh in its exploration block in Cuba.
Deora recalled the long-standing friendly relations between the two nations and emphasised that the process to further cement ties should be carried forward in the backdrop of ventures finalised in recent years.
OVL acquired interests in nine exploration blocks in Cuba including 100 per cent in two blocks.
The contracts for these blocks were signed in 2006. He expressed keen interest of the Indian companies to participate in both upstream and downstream projects in Cuba, which have good potential to fructify.
Vera invited investment in the planned new refinery project on the West coast of Cuba.
She said the project is slated to have a capacity of 150 thousand barrels a day (7.5 million tonnes per annum).
Further Indian companies could also participate in the capacity expansion and upgradation of the existing refineries. Showing keen interest in the proposal, Indian side explained that India has set up refineries, which produce latest grade environment-friendly fuels of Euro-III and Euro-IV standards.
Besides domestic markets, these products also cater to export markets including the US and Europe.
Deora was accompanied during the talks by Petroleum Secretary M S Srinivasan, Indian Ambassador to Spain Sujata Mehta, CMD ONGC R S Sharma and MD ONGC Videsh R S Butola.