19:12 GMT28 October 2020
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    HOUSTON (Sputnik) - Indian Oil Corporation (IndianOil) is examining upstream opportunities in Russia despite the western sanctions imposed on the country, IndianOil Chairman Sanjiv Singh told Sputnik on the sidelines of the CERAWeek conference in Houston, Texas.

    "In Russia, we are exploring a couple of upstream opportunities […] We already have two assets […] they are all upstream assets, where we are exploring opportunities", Singh indicated. According to Singh, his company is interested in expanding the current cooperation with Russia in all fields.

    When asked about the West's Russia sanctions, Singh called those sanctions "fairly specific".

    READ MORE: Forging Alliances: Russia, India, China Aim to Expand Trilateral Cooperation

    "In spite of those [sanctions] we have invested in Russia, and we have no issues with that… We have invested in Russia, and we are working with Russia", Singh stressed.

    Indian Ambassador to Russia D. Bala Venkatesh Varma told Sputnik in December that India intended to increase its energy cooperation with Russia regardless of the current sanctions policy against it. Prior to that, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in October that Russia was ready to consider cooperation with India in a number of energy projects in the Far East, and in projects on natural resources development in Siberia.

    In 2014, relations between Russia and the West deteriorated over Moscow's alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict and Crimea's reunification with Russia. The United States and the European Union have since imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russia's energy, banking, defense and other sectors, as well as on a number of Russian officials.

    READ MORE: US Treasury Admits Russian Economy Too Large for Iran-Style Sanctions

    Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations and reacted with countermeasures against the Western nations that targeted it with sanctions.

    Venezuela Crisis Could Impact Oil Prices

    Sanjiv Singh also expressed concern that the current political situation in Venezuela could impact world oil prices.

    "Definitely, whatever amount [of oil] Venezuela was producing, we fear if that crude is out of the market, probably, there might be some impact […] Although, as far as supplies are concerned, I am sure the rest of the countries will be able to make up the supplies. So crude supplies are probably not in concern, but it may impact to certain extent the prices", Singh said. Singh also specified that IndianOil did not have any contracts for the Venezuelan crude oil.

    READ MORE: Fitch: Russia 'Copes Well' With New US Sanctions, Economy Resilient to Shocks

    "Before this issue, we also did not have any Venezuelan crude", the chairman indicated.

    The United States has imposed several rounds of sanctions on Venezuela in response to the political developments in the country. The United States, in particular, has recently blocked $7 billion in assets belonging to Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has slammed the US sanctions against his country as tantamount to an illegal seizure of Venezuela’s sovereign assets.

    The confrontation between the United States and Venezuela escalated this year, when on 23 January, speaker of the opposition-led National Assembly Juan Guaido declared himself Venezuela's interim president, while the United States, as well as its allies around the world, immediately recognized him.

    READ MORE: US Wants India to Stop Oil Trade With Venezuela — Special Envoy Abrams

    Meanwhile, Russia China, Mexico, Turkey, Iran and several other countries continue to recognize constitutionally elected Nicolas Maduro as Venezuela’s legitimate leader.

    India Concerned Over US Sanctions Against Iran

    Sanjiv Singh told Sputnik on the sidelines of the CERAWeek conference in Houston that Indian Oil Corporation is worried about Washington’s Iran sanctions since the company has been purchasing the Iranian oil.

    “Definitely […] Because [sanctions] impact the Iranian crude which they are able to export and which we are able to import from Iran because we had been importing oil from Iran”, Singh said.

    READ MORE: India Begins Trade Through Iran's Chabahar Port, Afghanistan to Soon Follow Suit

    US sanctions against Tehran were reinstated last year after the United States withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which provided for the relief of economic sanctions against Tehran in return for Iran's pledge to keep its nuclear program peaceful.

    China, France, Germany, Iran, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the European Union — the other signatories to the Iran nuclear deal — slammed Washington's withdrawal from the agreement and the reinstatement of sanctions, saying it threatened not only Iran but also countries and companies that continued to do business with Tehran.

    READ MORE: India Will Never Cut Its Oil Supply From Iran to Zero — Think Tank Founder


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