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Colombia, Venezuela inaugurate binational gas pipeline

The Presidents of Colombia and Venezuela, Alvaro Uribe and Hugo Chavez, inaugurated on Friday a binational gas pipeline at a ceremony also attended by Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa.

The ceremony was held in northern Colombia’s Punta Ballenas region, where Uribe and Chavez opened the gas pipeline’s valves tobegin the 200 million cubic feet gas transportation from Colombia to Venezuela. The Ballenas-Maracaibo-Antonio Ricaurte gas pipeline will function inversely in the future, from Venezuela to Colombia. Chavez highlighted the countries’ independence and said "each country has its time, its festivities, celebrations and in Venezuela we live times of revolution." Venezuelan helicopters transported Correa and Chavez to Colombia’s gas station at the Manaure town in the Punta Ballenas region within La Guajira department of northern Colombia.

The 220 km gas pipeline from Campo Ballesta to the lake region of Maracaibo, Venezuela has 10 stations and its construction begun in June of 2006. In the future the pipeline will be extended northward to Panama and the rest of the Central American countries and it will also extend southward towards the Andean region. Meanwhile, Uribe and Chavez intend to propose to Correa the extension of this gas pipeline to Ecuador, Colombia’s foreign ministry said. (