Trans-Caribbean Gas Pipeline

From Global Energy Monitor


This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

Trans-Caribbean Gas Pipeline, also known as the Antonio Ricaurte gas pipeline, is a mothballed natural gas pipeline running between Colombia and Venezuela.


The pipeline runs from the Ballena gas field in La Guajira, Colombia to Maracaibo, Venezuela, passing en route through Majayura, Colombia.[1]

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Project Details

  • Operator: Petróleos de Venezuela S.A.[2]
  • Parent Company: Petróleos de Venezuela S.A.
  • Current capacity: 5 billion cubic meters per year[3]
  • Length: 139 miles / 224 km[2]
  • Status: Mothballed[4][5]
  • Start Year: 2007[2]


Construction of the pipeline began on 8 July 2006[6] and it was inaugurated on 12 October 2007.[2] The original plan for the pipeline was for Colombia to pump gas to Venezuela. Transported gas was initially to be used by Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. for injection in its oil reservoirs to boost oil production. After 2011, the direction of the pipeline was to be reversed, allowing Venezuela to export gas to Colombia.[2] The reversal of the pipeline was delayed by PdV multiple times, most recently in December 2016. The plan to reverse the pipeline never occurred due to PdV's financial troubles.[7]

In November 2009, Colombia reduced exports from 220 million cubic feet a day to 70 million cubic feet a day due to a drought that required an increase of gas-fired power generation to support the decrease in hydro-power plants' reservoirs.[8] On 9 October 2013, the pipeline was attacked, temporarily suspending the supply of natural gas from Colombia to Venezuela. The attack was attributed to FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) rebels.[9] From May 2014 to February 2015, Colombia again suspended gas exports through the pipeline due to drought. When the gas exports resumed, Colombia exported an estimated 50 million cubic feet a day, about half the amount that was exported before May 2014.[10] On 11 June 2015, Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PdV) announced that it would not renew the contract to import gas from Colombia, letting the contract expire on 30 June.[4] Colombia sent its final shipment of gas to Venezuela in 2015, and Venezuela's pledge to ship gas to Colombia was never fulfilled.[4][5] As of January 2023 the pipeline had been idle for more than seven years.[5]

As of August 2022, Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA was reportedly evaluating the possibility of reactivating the Trans-Caribbean pipeline to export Venezuelan natural gas to Colombia. Resuming gas shipments through the pipeline was seen as a way to bolster Venezuela's struggling economy while alleviating gas shortages expected to impact Colombia by 2025 or 2026.[11]

As of January 2023, Colombia and Venezuela continued to discuss the possibility of reopening the pipeline to export Venezuelan gas to Colombia, though poor maintenance on the Venezuelan side since the 2015 shutdown implied the need for repair work before the pipeline could resume normal operations.[5]


The first stage of the pipeline is 224 km (139 mi) long and runs from the Ballena gas fields in Guajira Department, La Guajira, Colombia to Maracaibo in the state of Zulia in Venezuela. Natural gas was originally supplied by Ecopetrol and Chevron Corporation.[2]

The construction of the first stage cost US$467 million.[2] The pipeline's maximum capacity is 5 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year.[3]


The operator of the pipeline is Petróleos de Venezuela.[2]


More than 60 indigenous Wayuu communities along the pipeline's path joined forces in opposing the Trans-Caribbean project, asserting that Petróleos de Venezuela had not properly consulted with them, and had not provided adequate compensation for the pipeline's impact on local livelihoods. Protests organized by the Wayuu in 2007 temporarily succeeded in halting the pipeline's construction.[12]

Articles and resources


  1. "Transporte, Distribución y Comercialización del Gas". PDVSA. Retrieved 2023-01-18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 "Colombia gas-links with Venezuela and joins Bank of the South". MercoPress. 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Ecopetrol, Chevron Ship 300MM Cf/D of Gas to Venezuela". Downstream Today. 2009-06-12. Archived from the original on 2013-01-21. Retrieved 2009-07-26. {{cite news}}: Cite has empty unknown parameter: |dead-url= (help)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Venezuela's PDVSA says halting Colombia gas imports". Reuters. 2015-06-21. Retrieved 2017-10-09. {{cite news}}: Cite has empty unknown parameter: |dead-url= (help)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "The Pipeline Reshaping Venezuela-Colombia Relations". Foreign Policy. January 13, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. "Chávez y Uribe le hacen hoy la primera soldadura al gasoducto". El Tiempo. July 8, 2006.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. Colombian distributor eyes abandoned PdV gas line, Argus Media, Apr. 3, 2017
  8. "Ecopetrol and Chevron reduce gas exports to Venezuela". Colombia News | Colombia Reports. 2009-11-06. Retrieved 2017-10-09.
  9. "Attack on pipeline cuts off Colombia gas exports to Venezuela". Reuters. 2013-09-09. Retrieved 2017-10-09. {{cite news}}: Cite has empty unknown parameter: |dead-url= (help)
  10. "Colombia quietly resumes gas exports to Venezuela". Retrieved 2017-10-09.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. "Venezuela está buscando reactivar gasoducto y exportaciones de gas hacia Colombia". La República. August 3, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. "Crossing the Wayúu: Pipeline Divides Indigenous Lands in South America". Corpwatch. June 5, 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

Related articles

External resources

External articles

Wikipedia also has an article on Trans-Caribbean Gas Pipeline (Trans-Caribbean pipeline). This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License].