Ecopetrol Analyzing Gas Imports from Venezuela in 2024

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(Bloomberg) -- Colombian state oil producer Ecopetrol SA said it is analyzing importing gas from Venezuela starting at the end of next year, following President Gustavo Petro’s visit with Nicolás Maduro in Caracas on Saturday.

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Ecopetrol said it is evaluating alternatives presented by Petroleos de Venezuela SA and has an existing contract through 2027 for gas import and export through a 139-mile pipeline that connects Venezuelan gas fields with northeast Colombia, which is currently “being stabilized,” the company said in a statement following an extraordinary board meeting.

Ecopetrol would be the latest of a series of foreign companies that have shown interest in partnering with Venezuela following the ease of oil sanctions last month. A deal between the two state companies would provide further economic relief to Maduro’s administration, which has been trying to revive its depleted oil industry ahead of presidential elections next year.

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Petro said it was “very likely” that Ecopetrol would become a partner of PDVSA in production for oil and natural gas during a visit to Caracas last weekend. Energy Minister Andrés Camacho also said Colombia was considering importing light crude from Venezuela to cut fuel costs.

Ecopetrol’s board said it requested the Colombian government to “quickly review” the amount of gas imports required.

The Colombia oil driller said it requested an authorization from the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control in November of last year to advance negotiations with PDVSA, then under sanctions. The US lifted some sanctions on oil and gas operations in Venezuela last month after the Maduro government and the opposition agreed to work on a deal for better electoral conditions.

(Updates with background starting in the 3rd paragraph)

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