Colombia’s Petro Seeks Deal to Let Ecopetrol Produce Venezuelan Oil and Gas

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(Bloomberg) -- Colombia is working on a deal to produce oil and natural gas in Venezuela, President Gustavo Petro said following a trip to Caracas.

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State-controlled Ecopetrol SA could develop “high quality” oil and gas in western Venezuela under the agreement, while Colombia could export clean energy to its neighbor, Petro said Wednesday, in a video published by the presidency.

Petro flew to Venezuela on Tuesday for his fifth meeting with President Nicolás Maduro since 2022. The trip was preceded by friction between the two allies, after Petro last month criticized Maduro’s government for blocking the main opposition leaders from the presidential election in July.

Petro said the oil and gas would be developed in Venezuelan fields near the Colombian province of Norte de Santander, while electricity would be provided from La Guajira province on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.

Petro was elected in 2022 on a pledge to phase out fossil fuels, and his government has declined to award exploration licenses to oil companies.

Read more: Dirty Venezuelan Fuel Imports Threaten Petro’s Green Credentials

Colombian exports to Venezuela will reach $1.2 billion this year, while imports will be between $200 million - $300 million, Petro said. A bilateral commission for food exports, via Colombia’s Meta river, will be up and running soon, he added.

After taking office in Colombia, Petro immediately patched up the acrimonious relationship between the two countries, restoring diplomatic ties and reopening the border.

Earlier, Petro said in a post on X that he had met with opposition leaders, without saying which one. In a subsequent post, he said Colombia would be prepared mediate in Venezuela’s political conflict.

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