ONGC is eyeing a stake in two oilfields in Cuba and a 30 per cent share in some exploration blocks in the communist country, where Repsol, a Spanish upstream oil firm, is currently carrying out oil exploration in those blocks.
ONGC-Videsh (OVL) officials will accompany the minister of state for external affairs, Rao Inderjeet Singh, next week to Cuba where the minister will hold talks with the Cuban government as part of the country’s oil diplomacy.
A business delegation will tag along with the minister, who will also visit the oil-rich African country, Venezuela, where OVL is looking for opportunities for oil exploration.
However, both the countries — Cuba and Venezuela — are opposed to the United States and India will have to tread carefully in view of its growing relations with the Bush government.
ONGC Videsh owns oilfields in a number of countries including Greater Nile in Sudan and Sakhalin I in Russia, and has a stake in the rich gas fields in Myanmar.
ONGC Videsh had earlier tried to purchase stakes in oil firms in Russia and Kazakhstan but turned unsuccessful in the bidding process.
The OVL-Mittal combine lost to China National Petroleum Corporation in the race for PetroKazakhstan, the third largest petroleum producer in Kazakhstan.
The Chinese firm outbid ONGC Videsh despite the Indian firm had the financial backing of L.N. Mittal. ONGC has formed a public-private joint venture with LN Mittal group, to acquire oil and gas assets overseas.