"Gasoducto del Sur is going very well from an engineering standpoint," he said.
Brazil, the other main partner in the venture, will provide markets for the Venezuelan gas.
The two countries agreed to the arrangement during a meeting last week between President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva, said Rodriguez.
"We are now developing [the project] from the conceptual phase," Rodriguez said.
PDVSA Gas, a subsidiary of state oil firm PDVSA, produces roughly 90% of the country's average production of 7Bf3/d (198Mm3/d). Chavez aims to modify the 1999 constitution in order to nationalize the country's natural gas industry.
Chavez reiterated on Sunday afternoon that the gas pipeline is a "geopolitical necessity" for regional energy integration.
Venezuela estimates the Gran Gasoducto project would cover 8,000-15,000km, starting in Venezuela, crossing Brazil and ending in Argentina.
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