(Bloomberg) -- Colombia is unlikely to meet its goal to start importing natural gas from Venezuela this year because the pipeline connecting the two nations is in desperate need of repair, according to an industry executive.

Colombian state oil producer Ecopetrol SA announced in November it was looking into importing gas from Venezuela at the end of this year, however Luz Stella Murgas, who heads the industry group Naturgas, said that won’t happen.

The idle and decayed 224-kilometer (139-mile) pipeline is in no shape to deliver, she said. Meanwhile, the attorney general in Colombia is investigating a complaint by residents who reported  “the disappearance of several sections” of the pipeline. 

Read More: Ecopetrol Analyzing Gas Imports from Venezuela in 2024

Some forecasts have Colombia’s demand for gas surpassing supply by 2028 yet Colombian President Gustavo Petro has pledged to phase out Colombian fossil fuel production and not issue new oil and gas exploration licenses.

Colombia’s biggest hope to reverse declining natural gas reserves hinges on offshore development. But for deepwater wells to begin producing in 2028, as well pending projects inland beginning next year, the government needs to speed up expediting environmental licenses and help with other regulatory hurdles, she said.

“Colombia has the opportunity to increase its sources of natural gas,” Murgas said Wednesday. “But we need to materialize these projects.”

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