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Tenth of Colombians Use Firewood, Coal or Garbage for Cooking – Industry Group

BOGOTA, March 30 (Reuters) – Some 5.4 million Colombians cook food with firewood, coal or garbage, pushing businesses and the government to launch a strategy extending gas access to reduce poverty, deforestation, contamination and health issues, a gas industry group said on Thursday.

The number represents a little more than a tenth of the population in a country where more than 50% of people live in poverty. The government of leftist President Gustavo Petro has made tackling poverty a key policy goal.

“In a mid-range scenario, we’d look to connect 192,000 families to natural gas,” Luz Stella Murgas, president of the Colombian Natural Gas Association (Naturgas), said in a press conference.

If financing can be secured, that target could rise to 650,000 families, she said, noting that the plan aims to reduce energy deprivation and cut costs for households.

Murgas did not detail the cost of the proposed investments but Jorge Ivan Gonzalez, director of the National Planning Department, said the government is looking to allocate resources from its national development plan being debated in Congress.

Colombia’s proven commercial gas reserves stood at 3,164 giga cubic feet, equivalent to eight years of consumption, at the end of 2021, government data show.

Colombia has enough gas to begin exporting the fuel in future, Murgas said, citing recent off-shore discoveries, while rejecting notions of importing gas.

Petro wants to wean Colombia from its dependence on oil and coal and transition to greener options, something Gonzalez said would be impossible to do without fossil fuels.

Source : Reuters