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Indian Oil Corp. in talks with Rosneft over crude supplies

Abu Dhabi — Refiner Indian Oil Corp. is in talks with Russian oil company Rosneft over crude supplies to India, chairman Sanjiv Singh said Tuesday.

"When we talk about crude it is price and quality together...Russian crude is fairly decent in terms of quality, now we have to see that commercially and quality put together. It should remain competitive in the market when we are procuring," Singh said at the ADIPEC conference in Abu Dhabi, adding that volumes would depend on commercial conditions.

Singh said Indian Oil Corp. has not received Venezuelan crude, but did take Iranian volumes previously.

"Our crude sources are extremely diversified. When Iran went out then other suppliers have pitched in...within the same countries, new crude sources keep coming up," he said.

"Our intention is to diversify crude sources so we are not dependent on a single source or geography too much."

Indian Oil Corp., which has a refining capacity of 81 million mt, imports close to 65 million mt, Singh said.

Rosneft already supplies crude to India, shipping to its subsidiary Nayara Energy which operates the 20 million mt/year Vadinar refinery in Gujarat.

In recent months, Rosneft has indicated it wants to increase supplies to India. A company delegation visited the country in September to discuss increasing deliveries as well as supply security in the wake of attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure.

"Overall, the two sides agreed to intensify cooperation on strengthening India's energy security, and guaranteeing supply of high quality feedstock and oil products to Indian consumers," Rosneft said in a statement at the time.

Upstream Cooperation

Indian Oil Corporation may also increase its involvement in the Russian upstream sector, Singh said.

"We have invested in upstream in Taas-Yuryakh and Vankor and different oil assets, and we are interested in investing further in those areas," he said.

Indian Oil Corp., Oil India and Bharat Petroresources hold a 29.9% stake in the Taas Yuryakh project. A separate consortium including Indian Oil Corp., ONGC Videsh, Oil India and Bharat Petroresources holds a combined 49.9% stake in the Vankor project.

Vankor will form part of Rosneft's new Vostok Oil, or East Oil cluster in the North of the Krasnoyarsk region.

Rosneft said previously that Indian partners were interested in joining the cluster which will also include the Payakhsky group of fields and the West Irkinsky block, as well as other promising areas in the Krasnoyarsk region.

Oil production at the cluster may reach 100 million mt, or around 2 million b/d, by 2030, Rosneft said.

Rosneft said it expects to benefit from tax breaks and produce light sweet oil at the cluster that exceeds the quality of ESPO and Brent blends. Crude from the cluster will be supplied to European and Asian markets via the Northern Sea Route.

-- Dania Saadi,

-- Herman Wang,

-- Rosemary Griffin,

-- Edited by Dan Lalor,