Venezuela's PDVSA to up gas usage to cut fuel smuggling

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Venezuela's PDVSA intends to increase gas usage in the region adjacent to Colombia in order to cut cross-border fuel smuggling.

"The idea is to gradually change the energy matrix on the Colombia-Venezuela border to reduce trafficking of gasoline and diesel," oil and mining minister José Gregorio Prieto was quoted as saying in a government release.

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PDVSA's Block E, in Zulia state in the extreme west of the country, is estimated to have around 1Tf3 (85Bm3) of gas, enough to provide the Sur del Lago and Andina regions with gas for the next 50 years, the minister said.

Venezuela launched a crackdown on smuggling in March this year to combat the thriving black market in Colombia for its heavily-subsidized gasoline trafficked across the border.

Prieto also visited the 540MW Don Luis Zambrano and 350MW Bachaquero thermopower plants as part of the oil and mining ministry's plan to connect them with the Casigua El Cubo and Táchira plants using high-tension transmission lines.

The government announced it would bring seven thermoelectric projects online during 2015 to combat the failures in electricity services and transmission faults which provoked nationwide blackouts during 2014.