MONTEVIDEO – Latin America’s demographic and economic growth – the latter “mitigated” by a recent sharp drop in commodity prices – has created increased energy demand and an opportunity for oil and gas producers in the region, Argentine expert Jorge Ciacciarelli told EFE.
In that regard, the executive-secretary of the Montevideo-based Regional Association of Oil, Gas and Biofuel Sector Companies in Latin America and the Caribbean, or Arpel, said one of the region’s challenges was “to generate the conditions required to attract investment” and develop those resources.
Ciacciarelli took part Thursday in an event titled “Best Practices in Offshore Exploration and Production in Times of Crisis,” attended by experts from countries including Brazil, Britain, Chile, the United States and Bolivia, most notably Pierce Riemer, director-general of the World Petroleum Council.
The recent sharp drop in prices of raw materials has “mitigated” the strong growth the region experienced for most of the past decade, but it also has presented an opportunity for energy-importing countries, which have paid less for supplies and improved their trade balances, he said.
“The only countries with energy surpluses are Mexico, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Ecuador and Colombia, while all the others are net importers,” Ciacciarelli said.
Referring to the extent that lower oil prices have discouraged crude prospecting and surveying in the region, the Arpel expert said short-term projects had been much more affected than medium- and long-term ones.
The Montevideo round table is part of a series of events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Arpel, which eight companies in the region founded with the aim of achieving “sustainable energy development,” Ciacciarelli said.