New Delhi: State-owned oil marketing company Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has got US$32 million payment from Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) as part of a settlement of outstanding dividend payments. NK Verma, managing director of ONGC Videsh, the overseas investment arm of the oil public sector undertaking (PSU), hailed the payment as a good development and said, “In between, there was some break because of financial strain in their country. We hope now PDVSA will be regular and the agreed mechanism will continue.”
ONGC has a 40 per cent stake in Venezuela’s San Cristobal project, with PDVSA holding the remainder. Under the terms of a deal signed between ONGC Videsh and PDVSA in 2016, it was agreed that the state-owned oil company would get money from the sale of 17,000 barrels per day of oil to settle outstanding dividend payments of US$537 million. PDVSA had paid about $90 million of that amount, and the rest was due. PDVSA, which is facing punitive action from the US and international courts over pending debts, has recently started paying back its creditors, mostly in oil, to avoid asset seizures. The company is also seeking to stimulate investment in Venezuela’s unravelling oil industry, where annual production is at its lowest in almost seven decades, by trying to meet some of its obligations to foreign partners. Last month, a news agency reported that PDVSA had shipped a crude cargo valued at about $35 million and that the money realised would be used for a payment to ONGC Videsh.
PDVSA, which is facing punitive action from the US and international courts over pending debts, has recently started paying back its creditors, mostly in oil, to avoid asset seizures.