ONGC considers importing Syrian crude

ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas investment arm of state-run explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC.NS), is considering importing crude oil from Syria, where it has equity oil, junior Oil Minister R.P.N. Singh told lawmakers on Thursday.




The European Union and the United States have imposed wide-reaching sanctions against Syria, including an embargo on crude imports, 

ONGC Videsh Ltd is talking to Indian refiners about the feasibility of lifting Syrian crude, Singh said.

India does not import any crude from Syria. Reuters in September reported that ONGC was considering shipping Syrian crude to India.

"The European Union oil import sanction prohibits only EU countries from importing Syrian crude oil," Singh said.

"OVL is pursuing with Indian refining companies the feasibility of lifting of crude oil from Syria."

Singh said output from oil fields of Al Furat project in Syria, in which ONGC has a stake, was scaled back by about 17 percent from mid-September on the advise of Syrian government.

Before September the project was producing oil and condensate at the rate of 85,000 barrels per day, he said, adding currently the project is producing crude oil and condensate at the rate of 70,500 bpd.

State refiner Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL.NS) had engaged Shipping Corp of India (SCI.NS) to hire a vessel to import Syrian crude, a source told Reuters last month.

Provisional fixtures show that SCI managed to hire Greece-based Eurotankers’ Remi vessel to import crude on behalf of HPCL, but two sources privy to the development said that this fixture did not materialise.

Syrian produces 385,000 barrels per day, or less than 0.5 percent of global supply, and exports around 150,000 bpd mainly to refineries in Europe.

It can only refine up to 240,000 bpd so it does not have anywhere near enough spare capacity to process all the crude it has been selling to Europe.

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