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Colombia to end decades of natural gas self-sufficiency

Staff writer ▼ | November 25, 2015
Colombia will begin importing 39 MMcf/d of natural gas from Venezuela in January to meet domestic needs, ending decades of natural gas self-sufficiency, the head of Ecopetrol said.
Colombia oil
Colombia   Natural gas imports in early 2016
The country is negotiating to increase that level of imports over coming months, Juan Carlos Echeverry, the CEO of the state-controlled company, said in an interview published in El Tiempo.

Ecopetrol is the country's primary natural gas producer, as well as owner of most of the pipeline network over which much of Colombia's gas and fluids are transported.

Imports could increase significantly in the coming years, officials have said, partly because of declining reserves and the expected near-term impacts of the El Nino weather phenomenon.

Climate change may force Colombia to divert more gas to thermoelectric power plants to make up for less electricity generated from hydropower plants due to reduced rainfall.

Although Ecopetrol reported last year a promising natural gas find at its Caribbean offshore Orca-1 well drilled with Repsol and Petrobras, Echeverry said in the newspaper interview Monday that production from the well, if it proves commercially viable, is "several years off."

The planned January imports of natural gas amount to about 3.5% of Colombia's average daily gas consumption of 1.1 Bcf. Ecopetrol currently produces roughly 80% of the the country's natural gas output.