Latin America's Energy Future

Tissot, Roger
Dec 2012
This discussion paper presents a survey of the changes in Latin America's energy consumption over the last 30 years, before considering the trends that will affect the region in the coming decades. It highlights several important issues, including the growing demand for oil, which has prompted a resurgence of resource nationalism and the revitalization of national oil companies in the region. Regional oil policy has also been boosted by the growth of China, which is now a major player in the Latin American energy sector, as both consumer and financier. Natural gas consumption has also grown in recent years, and the discovery of large non-conventional gas reserves will also alter the energy landscape. Overall, the paper concludes that Latin America has adequate resources to meet its rising energy needs. The challenge for national governments, however, is to find a balance of sources that best provides energy security, meets growing demand, is environmentally sustainable, and can be developed at a competitive cost. For the region with the cleanest energy matrix in the world, the paper recommends that national governments focus on developing renewable resources in order to avoid a greater reliance on fossil fuels.