PDVSA, Ecopetrol, Texaco to study Colombia-Venezuela gas pipeline

PDVSA Gas, a subsidiary of Venezuelan state oil corporation Petroleos de Venezuela SA, Ecopetrol, the national oil company of Colombia, and Texaco Inc. Friday announced the signing of a non-binding memorandum of understanding for a feasibility study a for a 200 km-long natural gas pipeline to interconnect Colombia and Venezuela.

By an OGJ Online Correspondent

CARACAS, Aug. 24 -- A group of companies have agreed to study the feasibility of a 200 km-long natural gas pipeline to interconnect Colombia and Venezuela.

PDVSA Gas, a subsidiary of Venezuelan state oil corporation Petroleos de Venezuela SA, Ecopetrol, the national oil company of Colombia, and Texaco Inc. Friday announced the signing of a non-binding memorandum of understanding for a feasibility study to evaluate the project.

The proposed line would connect Texaco's and Ecopetrol's infrastructure in the Guajira region in northeast Colombia to markets near Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela.

Texaco and Ecopetrol supply 80% of Colombia's natural gas needs. PDVSA Gas is the major supplier of natural gas throughout Venezuela.

The three groups will form a project team to conduct the study over a 6-month period to determine the scope of the export project and a pipeline construction budget.

The study will examine and evaluate the environmental, technical, and commercial factors of the export project.

If deemed commercial, the parties will determine their participation in a joint development agreement for the pipeline construction and/or a supply agreement for the sale of Colombian gas to Venezuela.

Ecopetrol Pres. Alberto Calderon said, "We are interested in exploring conditions that would make a gas interconnection between Colombia and Venezuela economically feasible. If we find possibilities, we'll analyze the supply options that satisfy the aspirations of both countries."

PDVSA Gas Pres. Nelson Nava said, "We are looking at this study with a futuristic approach. Our idea is to use the pipeline to import gas during the early years of the project, to offset some circumstantial shortage that we are experiencing in the Western side of the country. But after this period, we may very well be in the position of reversing the direction of the pipeline flow and use it as a first leg of a pipeline system able to export gas from Venezuela to other countries both in Central and South America."

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