Nigeria, Angola, others eye Venezuelan crude

brent crudeNigeria, Algeria, Angola and Iran are interested in blending their light oil with Venezuela’s heavy crude to get a better price, according to the president of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, Eulogio Del Pino.

Making the revelation during a two-day official visit to New Delhi, he said it began talks in April on a novel plan to blend the country’s heavy crude with light oil from other OPEC allies, seeking to create a new variety that can compete against swelling U.S. and Canadian supplies.

“We have several countries interested in doing that because that means synergies,” Del Pino said in an interview.

“Nigeria is interested, Algeria, Iran. … Angola too,” he added ahead of a meeting with Indian Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

The proposal, which would expand on a pilot scheme last year that involved Algerian oil, envisions supplying refineries built for medium-grade crudes rather than the light oil that has become plentiful as a result of the North American shale boom.

Del Pino, who took the reins of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. [PDVSA.UL] in September, added the company was mulling importing light crude or using its own during an upgrader maintenance scheduled for the end of the year.

PDVSA’s new leadership is eyeing creative solutions at a time of intensifying market competition, and is also seeking to ride out a slump in oil prices that has worsened Venezuela’s recession.

Del Pino predicted oil prices would recover in the second half of the year, driven by demand from big Asian markets like India and China.

Venezuela’s current oil output stands at about 3 million barrels per day (bpd), said Del Pino, who added the South American nation is exporting about 400,000 bpd to India and about 800,000 bpd to key ally China.

The shale oil revolution has displaced African sweet grades from the U.S. market and Western sanctions against Iran’s disputed nuclear program has halved the Persian Gulf nations’ overall exports.

Indian sources said Venezuela is keen to expand its oil sales in India.

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