Venezuela has 197 billion cubic feet of proven reserves of natural gas (LNG) , ranked in the 8th country with the largest LNG reserves, as well as the largest oil deposits in the world. Thus, Venezuela seeks to reactivate gas exports by pipeline to Colombia.
Venezuela is considering reactivating an abandoned gas pipeline in the west of the country to export natural gas, according to Juan Ricardo Ortega, responsible for Grupo Energía Bogotá (GEB). State company Petróleos de Venezuela, Pdvsa, hopes to reactivate a 224-kilometer gas pipeline that connects the Venezuelan gas fields with northeastern Colombia.
Ortega said that he was approached by an emissary of people who studied the feasibility of the project, who asked about the possibility of using the GEB gas pipeline network to distribute the gas within Colombia.
“As transporters, we have the infrastructure that could bring this gas to the market and we are more than interested in what is happening”, says Ortega last Monday in an interview with Bloomberg. “There are many activities that could make the transition to gas in Colombia if you had the reliability and the right price”.
PDVSA did not respond to messages seeking comments.
The reopening of the infrastructure, known as the Antonio Ricaurte transcaribeño gas pipeline, could help Venezuela recover from the economic crisis and reduce the risk of a gas shortage in Colombia in 2025 or 2026. Venezuela has 197 billion cubic feet of proven reserves of natural gas, the 8th country with the largest LNG reserves, as well as the largest oil deposits in the world.
GEB, 65.7% owned by the city of Bogotá, could help carry out the necessary repairs to make the gas pipeline work.
If an agreement is reached, it would have to receive the green light from the US Treasury, as the state-owned Venezuelan company Pdvsa is still subject to sanctions.
Washington has been negotiating with the Venezuelan government of President Nicolás Maduro since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in which the United States had tried to guarantee the energy supply in the midst of the interruption caused by the conflict.
The project could mark the restoration of energy gaps between Bogotá and Caracas at a time when the incoming Colombian president, Gustavo Petro, and Maduro are preparing to open borders and resume trade after years of hostility between the countries. Petro will assume the presidency on August 7th.
Petro has promised to eliminate fossil fuels, but seems to favor gas over oil and coal. The incoming Hacienda Minister, José Antonio Ocampo, declared to the Financial Times, last month, that natural gas could serve as a source of energy in the country’s transition to renewable energies.
Previous SWAP Agreement between Colombia and Venezuela
According to Portafolio, Colombia had an swap agreement signed between both countries, in which the first to deliver the fuel was Colombia, a task that started on the 1st of December 2008 until the 31st of December 2015, with dispatches between 0.5 and 0.7 trillions of cubic therapies of this fuel.
For its part, Venezuela had to do the same since January 1, 2016, until December 31, 2024, and whose fuel was expected in Campo Ballena, but until it closes, it hasn’t happened, first because of the political differences, the which sums up the fall in the production of hydrocarbons in the country.
The gas pipeline was inaugurated in 2007 by former presidents Hugo Chávez and Álvaro Uribe, but has been inactive since 2015. It extends from Riohacha, in the Colombian department of La Guajira, to the state of Zulia, in the west of Venezuela. Pdvsa paid about US$335 million for its construction.
The prices of natural gas have soared in Europe in the last few weeks due to the cut of the Russian supply as a result of the frictions caused by its invasion of Ukraine. Colombia does not run the risk of being excessively dependent on foreign gas, since it uses clean hydroelectric energy for most of its electricity generation, said Ortega.
Colombia produces more than two-thirds of its electricity with hydroelectric power, but with frequency increases the generation of gas and carbon in dry seasons.
Source: Bloomberg – La República – Portafolio