India will buy Venezuelan oil as some refiners in the country have the capability to process heavy crude oil, Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Friday.

Indian refiners have already resumed Venezuelan oil purchases, with Reliance Industries, Indian Oil Corp and HPCL-Mittal Energy securing cargoes of Venezuelan oil after the United States lifted sanctions in October.

India last imported Venezuelan crude in 2020.

"Many of our refineries, including Paradip, (are) capable of using that heavy Venezuelan oil. And we will buy (Venezuelan oil)," Puri told reporters at a press conference.

India is the world's third-biggest oil importer and consumer, shipping over 80% of its oil needs from overseas. It wants to cut its crude import bill and is looking to expand its refining.

India is willing to buy oil from any country that is not sanctioned, the minister added.

Puri said India currently refines 5 million barrels per day of oil and the country's refining capacity is rising. "...if Venezuelan oil comes to market we welcome it," he said.

The minister also said some Indian money is locked up in Venezuela, referring to India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp , which has more than $500 million in dividends pending since 2014 for its stake in Venezuelan projects.

(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; writing by Sethuraman NR; Editing by Janane Venkatraman )