Chavez Urges Bolivia, Uruguay to Take Part in Natgas Pipeline

Both Bolivia and Uruguay would benefit from participating in the proposed 8,000km natural gas pipeline that would link Venezuela to Argentina and Brazil, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez said in a state oil firm PDVSA press release. Chavez addressed the issue during the first state visit to Venezuela of Uruguay's recently inaugurated president, fellow socialist Tabare Vasquez. "Without the participation of Uruguay and Bolivia, the project doesn't make any sense," Chavez said.

"Who can think that a gas pipeline between Venezuela and Argentina would not pass through Uruguay? And who can think that without the participation of Bolivia and the addition of its gas reserves to ours the project can be profitable?"

Vasquez was pleased by Chavez's proposal and said his country is willing to participate in the project.

The US$20bn-plus project, expected to transport some 5 billion cubic feet of gas a day initially, is proceeding on schedule, with the three main countries reporting last week they would allocate US$9.2mn for preliminary studies.

Venezuela's gas regulator Enagas said earlier this year that approaches were being made to Bolivia to contribute gas to the pipeline. Bolivia already sells gas to Argentina and Brazil and has the second largest reserves in South America after Venezuela.

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