Venezuela in no rush for electricity deals

Feb. 18, 2010 at 10:03 AM
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CARACAS, Venezuela, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Venezuela has no choice but look to its neighbors to import electricity, though it may be premature to announce concrete plans, officials said Thursday.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez declared an energy emergency in early February after Colombian gas exports to Venezuela collapsed.

U.S. energy company Chevron said Colombian gas exports to Venezuela fell from 179 million cubic feet per day in January 2009 to just 60 million cubic feet per day in 2010.

Venezuelan Electricity Minister Ali Rodriguez Araque said his country should consider buying electricity from Colombia, though other options required review, Venezuela's El Universal newspaper reports.

"If there is any proposal from Colombia, we will assess it," he said. "We have also received some proposals from Brazil."

He added that Caracas was considering the purchase of equipment needed to build a thermal power plant. Demand for conventional energy resources has surged as regional drought decreases productivity from the country's hydroelectric plants.

"The plants will produce over 1,200 megawatts by May," said Araque.

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