Venezuela delays gas exports to Colombia, citing climate

viernes 1 de enero de 2016 16:54 GYT

BOGOTA Jan 1 (Reuters) - Venezuela's state oil company, PDVSA, has delayed the export of natural gas to Colombia because of climate factors, the Colombian Mines and Energy Ministry said on Friday.

In a letter to the Colombian government on Wednesday, PDVSA said the exports would not begin because of "climate variability," the ministry said in a statement.

The exports are part of a deal between the two countries, which includes provisions for the neighbors to supply their own markets if necessary before exporting.

"The contract specifies the delivery of 39 million cubic feet a day from Venezuela, which corresponds to just over 3 percent of daily supply in Colombia," the statement said.

Colombian state oil company Ecopetrol has asked PDVSA to give a new date by which the exports could begin.

The El Nino weather phenomena has caused drought and water shortages across Colombia. Some 70 percent of the Andean country's energy is supplied hydro-electrically.

PDVSA did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta and Julia Symmes Cobb; Additional reporting by Brian Ellsworth in Caracas; Editing by Peter Cooney)