(EnergyAsia, October 10 2012, Wednesday) — Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), India’s largest privately owned energy company, said it has agreed to increase its crude oil import from Venezuela’s state-owned PDVSA to between 300,000 b/d and 400,000 b/d for 15 years.

PDVSA currently supplies around 270,000 b/d of heavy crude oil to Reliance’s two refineries in Gujarat state’s Jamnagar under a 15-year contract.

As part of the latest agreement, RIL has the option to team up with PDVSA to explore and develop heavy oil projects in the Orinoco Basin.

The two companies have agreed to also cooperate in developing large scale upstream, refining and other downstream projects.

Rafael Ramírez, Venezuela’s Minister for Petroleum and Mining, said the agreement was the first between PDVSA and an Indian company.

“This agreement ensures the sale of our oil to countries that have a sustainable growth,” said Mr Ramírez, who is also President of PDVSA.