Duarte, Vazquez, Morales Agree to Build Regional Gas Pipeline

Paraguay's President Nicanor Duarte agreed with his Uruguayan and Bolivian counterparts Tabare Vazquez and Evo Morales on Wednesday to build a gas pipeline connecting the three countries, local press reported.

The leaders met in Paraguay's capital Asunción to discuss energy integration amongst other issues.

The pipeline will run 800km from Bolivia's gas-rich Tarija department to Puerto Casado on the shores of the Paraguay River, 600km north of Paraguay's capital Asuncion, Venezuelan paper El Universal reported.

The pipeline will proceed south to Ciudad del Este, 350km from the capital, from which point it will cross the international bridge shared with Brazil toward Río Grande do Sul state and onward to Uruguay, the paper reported.

The pipeline could begin operations in 2-4 years, Uruguayan paper El Observador reported.

A technical commission will begin drafting the agreement, the paper reported.

The project is separate from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's proposed 10,000km gas pipeline that would link Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina.

Uruguay's Vazquez thanked Duarte for the invitation to work together towards energy integration, according to the Uruguayan presidential website.

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