PDVSA to Start Building Pipeline July 1

Venezuela's state oil firm PDVSA will start building a gas pipeline connecting Venezuela and Colombia on July 1 this year, Venezuela's national gas regulator Enagas president Jorge Luis Sanchez told BNamericas.

"On July 1 we will start construction of the gas pipeline and after that we have a period of 18-24 months for construction," Sanchez told BNamericas.

The pipeline would be some 312km long and cost some US$350mn, with a capacity to transport 150-450 million cubic feet a day (Mf3/d).

The pipeline will connect US oil firm Chevron's gas fields in Colombia's La Guajira department with PDVSA's CRP refinery.

The pipeline will be built and operated by PDVSA and completed within the next two years, PDVSA officials have said.

The minimum duration of the contract will be 20-25 years. For the first 4-7 years, Colombia will ship some 150Mf3/d a day to Venezuela and then Venezuela will start shipping gas to Colombia.

"We could even expand into Central America or Ecuador," said Sanchez.

Enagas disclosed figures this week putting Venezuela's total gas reserves - previously estimated at 150-190 trillion cubic feet (Tf3) - at an astounding 426Tf3, which means the country has gone from being eighth in terms of estimated gas reserves worldwide to fourth, between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

"With the reserves we have, we can sustain a much bigger project [than Colombia]," said Sanchez. Enagas, which is a dependency of the energy and oil ministry, is also involved in the development of a much more ambitious project, a 12,000km pipeline from Venezuela to Brazil and Argentina that could cost up to US$25bn.

Currently Venezuela is producing some seven billion cubic feet of gas a day, about 70% of which is used by PDVSA for secondary crude recovery.

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