Venezuela President Hugo Chavez has come out in support of constructing a natural gas pipeline beneath the Caribbean to supply neighboring islands and Cuba, and possibly extending to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
Chavez called for the Venezuela-to-Caribbean pipeline in a speech to the PetroCaribe summit, a gathering in Caracas of energy ministers and heads of state from the region. The speech was broadcast on state television.
The plan for what he called a “Great Trans-Caribbean Gas Pipeline” comes just two weeks after he said his idea for a “Great Gas Pipeline of the South” was on hold. That US$20 billion (HK$156 billion) pipeline to Argentina through the Amazon rain forest was “frozen” by Brazilian opposition, he said.
The Caribbean pipeline would also supply Puerto Rico and Haiti, Chavez said. He said another way to supply the Caribbean would be to build a plant to regasify liquefied natural gas in Haiti, which could be ready in two years. Venezuela has no plants to liquefy natural gas and none under construction.
The concept of a pipeline across the Caribbean once gained support from the World Bank, though it was opposed by the United States out of concern that the pipeline would interrupt the US blockade of Communist-governed Cuba, Chavez said.
Chavez also predicted that world oil prices are headed for US$100 per barrel, and warned he will cut supplies to the United States if Washington “attacks” Venezuela again.
He said high oil prices were the sign of a “global crisis” in energy caused by voracious consumption.