DE RUEHBO #4125 1301355
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 101355Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4845
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 7674
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA 9116 C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 004125
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/10/2016
SUBJECT: COLOMBIA/VENEZUELA PIPELINE; PIPE DREAM BECOMING A
Classified By: DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION MILTON DRUCKER FOR REASON 1.4(B)
1. (C) Summary: GOC officials confirmed that a long-planned
gas pipeline from La Guajira, Colombia to Lake Maracaibo,
Venezuela is set to begin construction in July 2006. The
pipeline is estimated to cost USD 300 million and will be
financed entirely by the Venezuela's national petroleum
company, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). PDVSA will operate
and maintain the pipeline to import natural gas to power
refineries and power plants in Venezuela's strategic western
oil region. GOC officials anticipate the pipeline will
generate approximately USD 153 million dollars in annual
revenue. Venezuela hopes to use the pipeline to sell natural
gas to Colombia once PDVSA completes its domestic gas
network, but Colombian officials doubt the viability of the
plan. End Summary.
2. (C) The Maricaibo-La Guajira pipeline has been in the
planning stages for many years (an MOU was signed between the
two governments in 2001). According to GOC officials, the
BRV is desperately looking for natural gas to power
refineries and electric generation facilities in the Western
Maracaibo region. The La Guajira pipe line will provide a
temporary fix for Venezuela until the completion of the BRV's
domestic gas infrastructure sometime after 2012. GOC
Ministry of Energy officials report the 26 inch diameter gas
line will pump 4.24 million cubic meters of natural gas to
Venezuela on a daily basis. GOC officials estimate income
from the exported gas will reach USD 153 million per year.
3. (C) The pipeline, costing an estimated USD 300 million
will be fully financed, operated, and maintained by PDVSA.
According to GOC officials, Venezuela hopes to use the
pipeline to export natural gas to Colombia, once the BRV's
domestic gas network is on line, and eventually extend the
line to Panama for export to Central America or beyond. GOC
officials view this business plan with some skepticism,
however, as new gas discoveries off Colombia's North Coast
could provide low-cost alternatives to Venezuelan supply.
4. (C) GOC official described dealing with the Venezuelans
as an "experience". They explained, despite the fact that
Chevron owns and operates 50% of the natural gas fields in La
Guajira, for example, PDVSA did not want the American company
involved in this deal. The GOC agreed to act as the
purchasing and buying agent for all transactions. Chevron
noted to us however, that the arrangement with Ecopetrol
provides for just such sales. Therefore, they have no
difficulty in being excused from negotiating with PDVAS. To
expedite the project, the GOC accelerated its environmental
impact review (which began in January 2006 and is normally a
120 week process), and expects a final determination by May
15, 2006. The "hard" target date for beginning construction
is July 1, 2006.
5. (C) Chevron (protect) officials who produce the gas
involved in the deal explained they are finding significant
additional gas reserves off the Guajira coast. We will
provide more information on this in future reports.
6. (C) Comment: Despite current political differences on
regional issues, the GOC and BRV are showing that "business
is business". For Colombia, the La Guajira-Maracaibo
pipeline represents a guaranteed market for its abundant
North Coast natural gas at no capital cost. For its
investment, Venezuela guarantees the steady supply of the
energy it needs to expand oil production on western Lake
Maracaibo. Future returns to Venezuela, should it plan to
use the pipeline for gas exportation down the road, are not
This website hosts an archive of all 251,287 US Embassy diplomatic cables that were released by WikiLeaks between November 28, 2010 and September 2, 2011.
While the cables are generally available at http://wikileaks.org/cablegate.html
, we find it hard to search or even navigate the site to read the cables.
We have made all 251,287 cables available here at Dazzlepod with the hope to make it easier for readers to browse, search, share and discuss about the released cables.
The cables are periodically selected and posted to our Twitter page
and Facebook page
for readers to review them.
For comments or questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com