New Delhi: India has discussed with China the possibility of forming an "oil buyers club" that can negotiate better terms with oil sellers and get more US crude to Asia to cut the dominance of oil producers' cartel OPEC.

As a follow-up of oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan's idea floated at the International Energy Forum (IEF) meeting here in April, Indian Oil chairman Sanjiv Singh travelled to Beijing this month to meet Wang Yilin, chairman of China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), a top source said.

On the discussion table was de-bottle necking infrastructure to ensure that more US crude oil comes to Asia so as to cut the dominance of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which supplies about 60 per cent of India's needs.

Production cuts by OPEC have led to international oil prices hitting a four-year high last month that forced a Rs 3.8 per litre hike in petrol and Rs 3.38 a litre increase in diesel prices. Rates started to cool towards the month-end and retail prices have been cut thereafter.

In a throwback to 2005 when then oil minister Mani Shankar Aiyar had proposed an alliance of the oil consuming nations, Pradhan wants to form an oil buyers club with China, Japan and South Korea to take up issues such as the premium being charged from the Asian buyers.

At the IEF meeting, India and China agreed to join hands to have a collective bargaining power against the cartelisation of oil producers. Singh's visit was to take this forward with proposals for cooperation, the source said.

Venezuela Dues

ONGC Videsh has set the condition of Venezuela clearing past dues of $449 million before it commits to further investment in the San Cristobal field in the Latin American nation.

The firm's parent, Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), in a regulatory filing, said Venezuela had not paid OVL $449 million (about Rs 3,305 crore) of accrued dividend for four years.

OVL has a 40 per cent stake in the San Cristobal field, which produces around 18,000 barrels of oil per day.