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Colombia to suspend natural gas exports to Venezuela next week: Ecopetrol


State-controlled Colombian oil and natural gas company Ecopetrol will suspend shipments of gas indefinitely to Venezuela starting Tuesday due to increased domestic requirements to fuel power plants, Ecopetrol vice president Pedro Rosales said Friday.

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In response to a question on an analyst conference call, Rosales said the suspension of exports would not impact Colombian gas production. Colombia has shipped up to 250,000 Mcf/d of gas to western Venezuela industrial customers since a cross-border pipeline built at Venezuela's expense was inaugurated in 2007.

The pipeline connects gas fields operated by Chevron in the northeastern Guajira peninsula with Maracaibo in Venezuela.

But drought conditions and expectations of El Nino weather patterns later in 2014 have caused experts to expect an cut in hydro power generation, which normally accounts for 70% of the country's load. To compensate for that, gas normally exported to Venezuela will be diverted to several power plants.

--Chris Kraul,
--Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh,