Cuba asks India to take part in refinery project

July 1st, 2008 - 7:39 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) Cuba has invited Indian companies to take part in a new refinery project even as both countries are set to sign an agreement on cooperation in the oil and gas sector. Cuban Minister for Basic Industry Yadira Garcia Vera extended the invitation to Indian Petroleum Minister Murli Deora on the sidelines of the World Petroleum Congress in Madrid Monday.

The Indian delegation also included Petroleum Secretary M.S. Srinivasan, India’s ambassador to Spain Sujata Mehta, Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) chairman R.S. Sharma and ONGC Videsh Ltd Managing Director R.S. Butola.

A government statement said Deora would soon visit Cuba to sign the India-Cuba hydrocarbon agreement, whose text has been finalised.

The visit would also coincide with the beginning of drilling of oil wells by ONGC in Cuba.

ONGC Videsh Ltd had acquired nine exploration blocks in Cuba in 2006, with 100 percent control over two blocks.

Deora said at the meeting that Indian companies were keen to participate in both upstream and downstream projects, upon which the Cuban minister invited investment in a new refinery project on the country’s west coast.

The refinery is scheduled to have a capacity of 150 thousand barrels a day or 7.5 million tonnes per annum.

Vera also urged Indian companies to take part in the capacity expansion and to upgrade the existing refineries.

The Indian delegation showed interest in the proposal, noting that India has produced environment-friendly fuels of Euro-III and Euro-IV standards. These fuels are also exported to the the US and Europe.

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