Hydrocarbon Exploration and Exploitation Projects in Latin America

Hydrocarbons, such as oil and natural gas, are among the most important sources of energy in the world, and play a vital role in the economy, politics and society of many countries. Latin America is one of the regions with the greatest potential for hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation, due to its vast and diverse natural resources, its strategic location and its growing energy demand. Hydrocarbons, such as oil and natural gas, are among the most important sources of energy in the world, and play a vital role in the economy, politics and society of many countries. Latin America is one of the regions with the greatest potential for hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation, due to its vast and diverse natural resources, its strategic location and its growing energy demand. According to the International Energy Agency, Latin America has about 20% of the world’s conventional oil reserves, 4% of natural gas reserves and the largest unconventional gas resources outside North America. The region also accounts for about 10% of global oil production and 6% of natural gas production.

However, the hydrocarbon industry in Latin America faces many challenges and opportunities, both internally and externally. On the one hand, the industry has to deal with the social and environmental impacts of its activities, such as water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, community conflicts and public health effects. On the other hand, the industry has to adapt to the changing global energy landscape, which is driven by the energy transition, the technological innovation, the market dynamics and the geopolitical factors. In this context, the industry has to find a balance between exploiting its hydrocarbon resources and promoting a sustainable development that respects the human and environmental rights, as well as the needs and aspirations of the local populations.

In recent years, Latin America has seen a variety of trends and investments in hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation, reflecting the diversity and complexity of the region. Some of the main trends are:

Major Hydrocarbon Projects in Latin America

Latin America is a region with diverse and abundant hydrocarbon resources, ranging from conventional oil and gas to unconventional shale and heavy oil. In recent years, several countries in the region have undertaken major projects to explore, develop and produce these resources, with different degrees of success and challenges. In this section, we will review some of the most relevant and promising hydrocarbon projects in Latin America, focusing on five countries: Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela and Colombia.

  • Brazil: Pre-salt oil fields in the Santos Basin

Brazil is the largest oil producer and consumer in Latin America, with proven reserves of 12.7 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) as of 2019. The country’s oil production is mainly concentrated in the offshore basins, especially the Santos Basin, where the pre-salt oil fields are located. The pre-salt oil fields are a geological formation of Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous age, located below a thick layer of salt, at depths ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 meters. The pre-salt oil fields were discovered in 2006 by Petrobras, the state-owned oil company, and are estimated to contain between 50 and 100 billion boe of recoverable resources.

The development of the pre-salt oil fields is a strategic priority for Brazil, as it represents a source of economic growth, energy security, and social development. Petrobras is the main operator of the pre-salt oil fields, holding a minimum 30% stake in each consortium, as well as the role of sole operator. The company has partnered with several international oil and gas companies, such as Shell, Total, BP, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and CNPC, to share the risks and costs of the pre-salt projects. The pre-salt oil fields have been producing since 2009, and reached a record of 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2020, accounting for 70% of Brazil’s total oil production.

The development of the pre-salt oil fields requires technological advancements and innovations, as the fields present several challenges, such as high pressure and temperature, corrosive fluids, long distances from the coast, and environmental concerns. Petrobras and its partners have been investing in research and development, as well as in new equipment and infrastructure, to overcome these challenges and optimize the production and profitability of the pre-salt oil fields. Some of the technological solutions implemented include the use of floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) units, subsea systems, horizontal and extended-reach wells, intelligent completions, and carbon capture and storage (CCS).

  • Mexico: Reforms in the energy sector and the Zama oil discovery

Mexico is the second-largest oil producer and consumer in Latin America, with proven reserves of 6.4 billion boe as of 2019. The country’s oil production is mainly concentrated in the offshore basins, especially the Campeche and Perdido basins, where the majority of the conventional oil fields are located. However, Mexico’s oil production has been declining since 2004, due to the natural depletion of the mature fields, the lack of investment and technology, and the inefficiency and corruption of Pemex, the state-owned oil company.

In order to reverse this trend and revitalize the oil and gas sector, Mexico implemented a series of reforms in 2013, which opened the sector to private and foreign participation, and ended the monopoly of Pemex. The reforms also established a new regulatory framework, a new fiscal regime, and a new bidding process for the exploration and production contracts. The reforms have attracted the interest of several international oil and gas companies, such as Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, Total, BP, and Eni, which have participated in the bidding rounds and secured several blocks in the offshore and onshore basins.

One of the most significant results of the reforms was the discovery of the Zama oil field in 2017, by a consortium formed by Talos Energy, Premier Oil, and Sierra Oil and Gas. The Zama oil field is located in the shallow waters of the Sureste Basin, and is estimated to contain between 400 and 800 million boe of recoverable resources. The Zama oil field is the first major discovery by a private company in Mexico in over 80 years, and represents a milestone for the development of the oil and gas sector in the country. The consortium has completed the appraisal drilling program and submitted the development plan for the Zama oil field, which is expected to start production in 2024, with a peak of 150,000 bpd.

  • Argentina: Vaca Muerta shale formation

Argentina is the third-largest oil producer and consumer in Latin America, with proven reserves of 2.4 billion boe as of 2019. The country’s oil production is mainly concentrated in the onshore basins, especially the Neuquen Basin, where the Vaca Muerta shale formation is located. The Vaca Muerta shale formation is a geological formation of Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous age, located below a thick layer of rock, at depths ranging from 2,000 to 3,000 meters. The Vaca Muerta shale formation is one of the largest shale plays in the world, with an estimated 16 billion barrels of oil and 308 trillion cubic feet of gas of technically recoverable resources.

The development of the Vaca Muerta shale formation is a strategic opportunity for Argentina, as it represents a source of economic growth, energy security, and export potential. YPF, the state-owned oil company, is the main operator of the Vaca Muerta shale formation, holding a 40% stake in the total acreage. The company has partnered with several international oil and gas companies, such as Chevron, Shell, Total, BP, ExxonMobil, and Equinor, to share the risks and costs of the shale projects. The Vaca Muerta shale formation has been producing since 2013, and reached a record of 124,000 bpd of oil and 1.1 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of gas in 2020, accounting for 25% of Argentina’s total oil production and 32% of its total gas production.

The development of the Vaca Muerta shale formation requires technological advancements and innovations, as the shale plays present several challenges, such as high capital intensity, low recovery factor, environmental impact, and social conflict. YPF and its partners have been investing in research and development, as well as in new equipment and infrastructure, to overcome these challenges and optimize the production and profitability of the Vaca Muerta shale formation. Some of the technological solutions implemented include the use of horizontal and multi-fractured wells, pad drilling, hydraulic fracturing, and water management.

  • Venezuela: Orinoco Belt

Venezuela is the fourth-largest oil producer and consumer in Latin America, with proven reserves of 302.8 billion boe as of 2019. The country’s oil production is mainly concentrated in the onshore basins, especially the Orinoco Belt, where the heavy and extra-heavy oil fields are located. The Orinoco Belt is a geological formation of Cretaceous to Tertiary age, located below a thick layer of sand, at depths ranging from 500 to 1,500 meters. The Orinoco Belt is the largest accumulation of heavy and extra-heavy oil in the world, with an estimated 1.3 trillion barrels of oil in place, of which 235 billion barrels are considered recoverable.

The development of the Orinoco Belt is a strategic goal for Venezuela, as it represents a source of economic development, social welfare, and geopolitical influence. PDVSA, the state-owned oil company, is the main operator of the Orinoco Belt, holding a minimum 60% stake in each joint venture, as well as the role of sole operator . The company has partnered with several international oil and gas companies, such as Chevron, CNPC, Rosneft, Eni, and Repsol, to share the risks and costs of the heavy oil projects. The Orinoco Belt has been producing since 2008, and reached a record of 1.3 million bpd in 2015, accounting for 60% of Venezuela’s total oil production.

The development of the Orinoco Belt requires technological advancements and innovations, as the heavy and extra-heavy oil fields present several challenges, such as high viscosity, low API gravity, high sulfur content, environmental degradation, and political instability. PDVSA and its partners have been investing in research and development, as well as in new equipment and infrastructure, to overcome these challenges and optimize the production and profitability of the Orinoco Belt. Some of the technological solutions implemented include the use of horizontal and multi-lateral wells, thermal recovery, upgrading, and dilution.

  • Colombia: Offshore projects in the Caribbean Sea

Colombia is the fifth-largest oil producer and consumer in Latin America, with proven reserves of 1.9 billion boe as of 2019. The country’s oil production is mainly concentrated in the onshore basins, especially the Llanos and the Magdalena basins, where the majority of the conventional oil fields are located. However, Colombia’s oil production has been declining since 2015, due to the natural depletion of the mature fields, the low investment and exploration activity, and the security and social issues.

In order to reverse this trend and revitalize the oil and gas sector, Colombia has been focusing on the development of the offshore basins, especially the Caribbean Sea, where the potential for exploration and production of oil and gas is high, but still largely untapped. The offshore basins in Colombia have been estimated to contain between 2 and 7 billion boe of undiscovered technically recoverable resources. The offshore basins in Colombia have been divided into four areas: Sinú, Guajira, Magdalena, and Tumaco.

The development of the offshore basins in Colombia is a strategic opportunity for the country, as it represents a source of economic growth, energy security, and regional integration. Ecopetrol, the state-owned oil company, is the main operator of the offshore basins in Colombia, holding a 50% stake in the total acreage . The company has partnered with several international oil and gas companies, such as Anadarko, Shell, Repsol, ExxonMobil, and Noble Energy, to share the risks and costs of the offshore projects. The offshore basins in Colombia have been producing since 2017, and reached a record of 40,000 bpd of oil and 400 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of gas in 2020, accounting for 4% of Colombia’s total oil production and 14% of its total gas production.

The development of the offshore basins in Colombia requires technological advancements and innovations, as the offshore fields present several challenges, such as deep and ultra-deep waters, complex geology, environmental sensitivity, and maritime security. Ecopetrol and its partners have been investing in research and development, as well as in new equipment and infrastructure, to overcome these challenges and optimize the production and profitability of the offshore basins. Some of the technological solutions implemented include the use of floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) units, subsea systems, 3D seismic surveys, and directional drilling.

Some of the most important and promising offshore projects in Colombia are:

  1. The Plataforma Deltana project, which is a joint venture between Ecopetrol and Repsol, to develop the Orca gas field, located in the Guajira basin, near the border with Venezuela. The project has a capacity of 300 mmcfd of gas, and supplies the domestic market and the export market through a pipeline to Venezuela .
  2. The Purple Angel project, which is a joint venture between Ecopetrol and Anadarko, to develop the Purple Angel gas field, located in the Sinú basin, near the coast of Cartagena. The project has a capacity of 100 mmcfd of gas, and supplies the domestic market and the export market through a pipeline to Panama .
  3. The Zama project, which is a joint venture between Ecopetrol and Noble Energy, to develop the Zama oil field, located in the Magdalena basin, near the border with Nicaragua. The project is expected to start production in 2025, with a peak of 150,000 bpd of oil .

Technological Innovations Driving Exploration and Exploitation

The hydrocarbon industry is constantly seeking new ways to improve the efficiency, safety and sustainability of its exploration and exploitation activities, especially in challenging and complex environments, such as deep water, arctic regions, or unconventional reservoirs. To achieve this, the industry relies on the development and application of new technologies that enable the acquisition, processing and interpretation of high-quality data, the drilling and completion of wells, and the extraction and transportation of oil and gas. In this section, we will review some of the latest technological advances in seismic surveying, drilling, and extraction techniques, and how they are enabling the development of previously inaccessible reserves.

Seismic surveying is a method of investigating the subsurface structure and properties of the earth, by generating and recording seismic waves that reflect or refract from different geologic layers. Seismic surveying is widely used in the hydrocarbon industry to identify and characterize potential reservoirs, to plan and monitor drilling operations, and to evaluate reservoir performance and recovery. Some of the recent technological innovations in seismic surveying are:

  • Broadband seismic acquisition, which uses a wider range of frequencies than conventional seismic surveys, to improve the resolution and quality of the seismic images, and to reduce the noise and artifacts. Broadband seismic acquisition can be achieved by using different types of sources and receivers, such as marine vibrators, dual-sensor streamers, or variable-depth streamers.
  • Full-waveform inversion (FWI), which is a technique that iteratively updates the subsurface model by minimizing the difference between the observed and simulated seismic data, using advanced numerical methods and high-performance computing. FWI can provide high-resolution and accurate estimates of the subsurface velocity and impedance, which are essential for seismic imaging and interpretation.
    Time-lapse seismic (4D seismic), which is a technique that involves repeated seismic surveys over the same area at different times, to monitor the changes in the subsurface due to fluid flow, pressure, temperature, or stress. Time-lapse seismic can help to optimize reservoir management, to enhance oil and gas recovery, and to reduce environmental impacts.

Drilling is a process of creating a borehole in the earth, by using a rotating drill bit attached to a drill string, to reach and access the hydrocarbon reservoirs. Drilling is one of the most critical and costly phases of the hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation cycle, and requires the use of sophisticated equipment, techniques and systems. Some of the recent technological innovations in drilling are:

Extraction is a process of producing and recovering oil and gas from the reservoirs, by using natural or artificial methods to overcome the reservoir pressure and to transport the fluids to the surface. Extraction is the ultimate goal of the hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation cycle, and requires the use of various equipment, techniques and systems. Some of the recent technological innovations in extraction are:

Environmental Considerations and Sustainability Efforts

The hydrocarbon industry in Latin America has significant environmental impacts, both locally and globally, that need to be addressed and mitigated. Some of the main environmental impacts associated with hydrocarbon projects are:

  1. Greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change and its adverse effects on ecosystems, biodiversity, human health, and economic development.
  2. Water pollution, which affects the quality and availability of water resources for human and animal consumption, irrigation, and ecosystem services
  3. Land degradation, which reduces the productivity and fertility of soils, and increases the risk of erosion, desertification, and landslides.
  4. Biodiversity loss, which threatens the survival and diversity of species and habitats, and the provision of ecosystem services.

The hydrocarbon industry is responsible for about 15% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in Latin America, mainly from the combustion of oil and gas, the flaring and venting of associated gas, and the fugitive emissions from production and transportation. The hydrocarbon industry can contaminate water sources with oil spills, wastewater discharges, chemicals, and sediments, especially in sensitive areas such as the Amazon basin, the Andean highlands, and the Caribbean coast.

The hydrocarbon industry can degrade land by clearing vegetation, altering topography, compacting soils, and generating solid waste, especially in fragile ecosystems such as the dry forests, the wetlands, and the páramos. The hydrocarbon industry can cause biodiversity loss by fragmenting habitats, introducing invasive species, altering food chains, and exposing wildlife to noise, light, and chemical pollution, especially in biodiversity hotspots such as the tropical rainforests, the coral reefs, and the savannas.

In order to minimize the ecological footprint of the hydrocarbon industry and to promote a more sustainable development, several initiatives and technologies have been implemented or proposed in the region, such as:

Carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), which is a technology that involves the capture of carbon dioxide from industrial sources, such as power plants, refineries, or steel mills, and its utilization for enhanced oil recovery, or its storage in geological formations, such as depleted oil and gas reservoirs, saline aquifers, or coal seams. CCUS can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the hydrocarbon industry, and create new economic opportunities and synergies.

Renewable energy integration, which is an initiative that involves the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, hydro, or biomass, to power some or all of the operations of the hydrocarbon industry, such as exploration, production, processing, or transportation. Renewable energy integration can reduce the dependence on fossil fuels, lower the operational costs, and improve the environmental performance of the hydrocarbon industry.

Environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA), which is a process that involves the identification, prediction, evaluation, and mitigation of the potential environmental and social impacts of a proposed hydrocarbon project, and the consultation and participation of the affected stakeholders, such as local communities, indigenous peoples, civil society, and government agencies. ESIA can help to prevent or minimize the negative impacts, and to enhance the positive impacts, of the hydrocarbon industry, and to ensure its compliance with the legal and regulatory frameworks.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR), which is a concept that involves the voluntary commitment of the hydrocarbon industry to integrate social and environmental concerns into its business practices, and to contribute to the well-being of the society and the environment where it operates. CSR can include actions such as implementing environmental management systems, adopting ethical codes of conduct, supporting social and economic development projects, and reporting on sustainability performance.

Some case studies of successful sustainable practices in the region are:

  1. The Loma Campana project in Argentina, which is a joint venture between YPF, the national oil company, and Chevron, the US oil company, to develop the Vaca Muerta shale formation, one of the largest unconventional oil and gas resources in the world. The project has implemented several sustainability measures, such as using renewable energy to power the drilling rigs, recycling the water used for hydraulic fracturing, reducing the flaring and venting of gas, and supporting local suppliers and communities .
  2. The Libra project in Brazil, which is a consortium of Petrobras, the national oil company, Shell, Total, CNPC, and CNOOC, the international oil companies, and Pre-Sal Petroleo, the state-owned company, to develop the Libra oil field, one of the largest pre-salt discoveries in the world. The project has implemented several sustainability measures, such as using carbon dioxide injection for enhanced oil recovery, installing subsea processing equipment to reduce the surface footprint, monitoring the marine biodiversity and the water quality, and promoting social and educational programs .
  3. The Sacha project in Ecuador, which is a partnership between Petroamazonas, the state-owned oil company, and Schlumberger, the oilfield services company, to revitalize the Sacha oil field, one of the oldest and largest oil fields in the country. The project has implemented several sustainability measures, such as using directional drilling to minimize the environmental impact, installing multiphase pumps to optimize the production, reducing the greenhouse gas emissions by 30%, and implementing a social license to operate with the local communities .

The Future of Hydrocarbon Projects in Latin America

The hydrocarbon industry in Latin America faces a complex and uncertain future, amid shifting global energy paradigms, the growing role of renewable energy, and the potential for new discoveries and geopolitical implications. In this section, we will explore some of the main trends and challenges that will shape the future of hydrocarbon projects in the region, and how the industry can adapt and thrive in the changing landscape. The global energy system is undergoing a profound transformation, driven by the need to mitigate climate change, the advancement of clean energy technologies, the diversification of energy sources and markets, and the emergence of new actors and alliances. These changes pose both opportunities and threats for the hydrocarbon industry in Latin America, which will have to adjust to the new realities and expectations of the world energy scene.

One of the key drivers of the global energy transition is the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit the global temperature rise to well below 2°C, preferably to 1.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels, by achieving net-zero emissions by the second half of the century. To achieve this goal, the world will have to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, especially coal and oil, and increase its use of low-carbon energy sources, such as renewables, nuclear, and hydrogen. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), in its Net Zero Emissions by 2050 (NZE) scenario, which is aligned with the 1.5°C target, the global demand for oil and gas would decline by 75% and 55%, respectively, by 2050, compared to 2019 levels.

For Latin America, this implies a significant challenge, as the region still relies heavily on hydrocarbons for its energy supply and economic development. According to the IEA, in 2019, oil and gas accounted for 46% and 23%, respectively, of the region’s total primary energy supply, and for 51% and 28%, respectively, of its electricity generation. Moreover, hydrocarbons represent a major source of income and foreign exchange for many countries in the region, especially the major producers and exporters, such as Venezuela, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina. According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), in 2019, oil and gas exports accounted for 11.4% of the region’s total exports, and for 23.8% of its trade surplus.

Therefore, the hydrocarbon industry in Latin America will have to cope with the declining global demand and prices for its products, and the increasing competition from other energy sources and regions. At the same time, the industry will have to comply with the environmental and social regulations and standards that are becoming more stringent and demanding, both at the national and international levels. The industry will also have to deal with the growing pressure and scrutiny from investors, consumers, civil society, and the public opinion, who are increasingly concerned about the climate and sustainability impacts of hydrocarbon activities.

To face these challenges, the hydrocarbon industry in Latin America will have to adopt a proactive and strategic approach, that considers not only the short-term profitability and competitiveness, but also the long-term resilience and alignment with the global energy transition. The industry will have to diversify its portfolio and markets, to reduce its exposure and vulnerability to the fluctuations and uncertainties of the hydrocarbon sector. The industry will also have to invest in innovation and efficiency, to improve its performance and reduce its costs and emissions. The industry will also have to engage and collaborate with the governments, the regulators, the stakeholders, and the society, to ensure its legitimacy and acceptance, and to contribute to the sustainable development of the region.

According to the IEA, in 2019, renewable energy sources accounted for 27% of the region’s total primary energy supply, and for 56% of its electricity generation, well above the global averages of 14% and 27%, respectively. However, most of this renewable energy comes from large-scale hydropower, which faces some limitations and challenges, such as the variability of water availability, the environmental and social impacts of dams, and the vulnerability to climate change. Therefore, there is a large scope and need for expanding and diversifying the renewable energy mix in the region, especially with non-hydropower renewables, such as solar and wind, which have experienced a remarkable growth in recent years, thanks to the cost reductions, technological improvements, and policy support.

For the hydrocarbon industry in Latin America, renewable energy can play a crucial role in improving its efficiency, competitiveness, and sustainability, and in creating new business opportunities and synergies. Renewable energy can help the hydrocarbon industry to reduce its operational costs and emissions, by replacing or complementing the fossil fuels used for power generation, heating, cooling, or transportation. Renewable energy can also help the hydrocarbon industry to increase its productivity and recovery, by enabling new techniques and processes, such as enhanced oil recovery with solar steam, or hydrogen production with renewable electricity. Renewable energy can also help the hydrocarbon industry to diversify its portfolio and markets, by entering into new segments and services, such as renewable power generation, biofuels production, or green hydrogen export.

Some examples of successful and innovative projects that combine hydrocarbons and renewables in the region are:

  • The Cerro Pabellón geothermal plant in Chile, which is a joint venture between Enel Green Power and ENAP, the national oil company, to produce electricity from the heat of the earth, in the same area where ENAP operates oil and gas fields.
  • The Oitis wind complex in Brazil, which is a partnership between EDP Renewables and Shell, the international oil company, to build and operate 12 wind farms with a total capacity of 566 MW, in the states of Bahia and Piauí.
  • The La Castellana solar plant in Argentina, which is a project of YPF Luz, the renewable energy subsidiary of YPF, the national oil company, to generate electricity from solar photovoltaic panels, with a capacity of 99 MW, in the province of Buenos Aires.

Another factor that will shape the future of hydrocarbon projects in Latin America is the potential for new discoveries and the geopolitical implications that they may entail. Latin America is a region with abundant and diverse hydrocarbon resources, both conventional and unconventional, that have not been fully explored and exploited, and that may offer new opportunities and challenges for the industry and the region.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2019, Latin America had proven reserves of 339 billion barrels of oil, equivalent to 20% of the world’s total, and 8.7 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, equivalent to 4% of the world’s total. However, these figures may underestimate the actual potential of the region, as there are many areas and basins that have not been adequately assessed or developed, and that may hold significant amounts of hydrocarbons, especially in offshore and unconventional formations.

Some of the most promising and prospective areas and basins for new hydrocarbon discoveries in the region are:

  • The pre-salt oil fields in the Santos and Campos basins in Brazil, which are located offshore in the southeast coast of the country, below a thick layer of salt, and that have been estimated to contain between 50 and 100 billion barrels of oil equivalent of recoverable resources.
  • The Guyana-Suriname basin, which is located offshore in the northeast coast of South America, and that has been described as one of the most prolific and underexplored basins in the world, with more than 20 discoveries since 2015, totaling over 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent of recoverable resources.
  • The Vaca Muerta shale formation in Argentina, which is located onshore in the Neuquén basin, in the west of the country, and that is considered one of the largest unconventional oil and gas resources in the world, with more than 16 billion barrels of oil and 8.7 trillion cubic feet of gas of technically recoverable resources. 

The exploration and development of these new hydrocarbon resources may have significant geopolitical implications for the region and the world, as they may alter the balance and dynamics of the energy markets, the trade flows, the investments, and the relations among the countries and regions involved. These implications may be positive or negative, depending on the context and the management of the resources and the projects. 

Some of the possible geopolitical implications of the new hydrocarbon discoveries in the region are: 

  • The enhancement of the energy security and sovereignty of the producing countries, by increasing their domestic supply and reducing their dependence on imports, or by increasing their exports and revenues, and their influence and leverage in the international arena.
  • The diversification of the energy supply and options for the consuming.

In this blog, we have explored the main aspects of the hydrocarbon industry in Latin America, and how it is facing a complex and uncertain future, amid shifting global energy paradigms, the growing role of renewable energy, and the potential for new discoveries and geopolitical implications. We have seen that the hydrocarbon industry in Latin America has significant economic, social and environmental impacts, both locally and globally, that need to be addressed and mitigated. We have also seen that the hydrocarbon industry in Latin America has a vast and diverse potential for hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation, that may offer new opportunities and challenges for the industry and the region. Finally, we have seen that the hydrocarbon industry in Latin America has to adopt a proactive and strategic approach, that considers not only the short-term profitability and competitiveness, but also the long-term resilience and alignment with the global energy transition. 

We hope that this blog has been useful and interesting for you, and that it has helped you to better understand the hydrocarbon industry in Latin America and its relation to the sustainable development of the region. We invite you to join the conversation and share your opinions, comments, questions and suggestions. Thank you for reading us.

One of the key messages that we want to convey in this blog is the importance of innovation and environmental stewardship in the future of Latin America’s hydrocarbon industry. Innovation is essential for the industry to improve its efficiency, safety and sustainability, and to create new business opportunities and synergies. Environmental stewardship is essential for the industry to minimize its ecological footprint, to comply with the environmental and social regulations and standards, and to contribute to the well-being of the society and the environment where it operates. Innovation and environmental stewardship are not only a matter of responsibility and compliance, but also a matter of competitiveness and resilience, as they can help the industry to adapt and thrive in the changing landscape.

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