Colombia is evaluating the import of natural gas and light crude oil from Venezuela to try to reduce fuel costs.
The Andean nation is also analyzing whether to participate in oil exploration in Venezuela, said Colombia’s Minister of Mines and Energy, Andrés Camacho.
“We are even exploring the possibility that Ecopetrol directly explores gas and hydrocarbons in Venezuela,” Camacho indicated on Monday in an interview on Blu Radio.
His comments follow President Gustavo Petro’s visit to Nicolás Maduro in Caracas on Saturday, where Petro said it was “very likely” that Colombia’s state oil company, Ecopetrol SA, would become a partner of Petróleos de Venezuela SA in the production of oil and natural gas.
Colombia’s interest would mark a change in Petro’s policy of moving his nation away from fossil fuels. In Colombia, its government has refused to grant new oil exploration licenses and has also opposed new oil exploration contracts abroad.
Last month, the United States lifted some sanctions on oil and gas operations in Venezuela after the Maduro government and the opposition agreed to work on a deal to improve electoral conditions.
In August, Camacho said that the country was not considering importing gas from Venezuela. The two countries are linked by a 223 kilometer gas pipeline connecting Venezuelan gas fields to northeast Colombia, although it would require considerable maintenance work to make it work.
Colombia’s natural gas reserves fell to the equivalent of 7.2 years of production at the end of last year, the lowest level since at least 2007, according to the National Hydrocarbons Agency. The Andean nation had 2,040 million barrels of proven crude oil reserves, the equivalent of 7.5 years of production.
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