A Colombian coalition congressman wants President Juan Manuel Santos to ask his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez for more subsidized gasoline to lower petrol prices.
Cambio Radical Representative William Garcia Tirado on Wednesday asked the President to use Saturday’s meeting to ask an expansion of cheap Venezuelan oil imports.
According to Garcia Tirado, Santos “should ask to increase the number of barrels of fuel Venezuela is subsidizing … this quota sould be raised so, together with gasoline Colombia produces, it can deplete the impact of high fuel costs a little,” the congressman told reporters.
The Colombian government recently raised the price per gallon to $4.53. According to fuel sector trade organization Fendipetroleo, the high fuel price is affecting the retail industry as distributors are charging more to cover their transportation costs
“Venezuela has the capacity to subsidize Colombia … with up to 10 million gallons (238,000 barrels) of gasoline [a day],” said Garcia Tirado.
Colombia’s domestic crude oil production rose to 884,000 barrels a day in March. According to the Los Angeles Times, 365,000 of these barrels are exported to the U.S. where the oil is refined. According to a U.S. government report, the Andean nation consumed 282,000 barrels a day in 2008.
Venezuela, the continent’s largest oil producer, recently resumed exports of oil to Colombia and delivers 3.1 million gallons monthly to Colombian border departments, a figure that is expected to increase to 5 million gallons under the “fuel exportation scheme” of Venezuela’s national government.