Latin America Region
The Latin America region is experiencing a boom in exploration and production activities. Currently several hydrocarbon provinces from this region are among the most active in the world. Mexico, Venezuela, and Brazil are in the top tier of producing countries in the region.
Mexico, currently producing around 2.5 MBOPD, is the region’s largest crude oil producer. However, in the past years, the rapid decline of the supergiant Cantarell field has impacted the country’s production from a peak of 3.4 MBOPD to its current level. It is well known that Mexico has an enormous potential and its government is seeking ways to allow greater private participation in the upstream. The second largest producer of the region is Venezuela with current production of 2.4 MBOPD. Political aspects, such as resource nationalism, may be affecting E&P activities, which are not commensurate with the country’s huge potential, in particular in the Orinoco Heavy Oil Belt, the largest heavy oil accumulation in the world.
The rising star of the region is Brazil, with current production of 2.1 MBOPD. With several international and national players exploring and producing from its subsalt plays among others, Brazil expects to exceed 5.0 MBOPD by 2020, providing enormous opportunities to industry and to the country.
Colombia, Argentina, and Ecuador are part of the second tier of oil producers in Latin America. Colombia is rapidly approaching a record production of 1.0 MBOPD and is a hub of E&P activities, mainly by small and mid-sized companies. Production in Argentina has been declining by around 650k BOPD. Now the country is looking for new opportunities and is turning its efforts towards unconventional shale liquids and shale gas plays. Ecuador production is stagnant at around 500 k BOPD, but the undiscovered potential, mainly heavy oil, is noteworthy. Significant activities are also occurring in Trinidad and Tobago (increasing gas production), Peru (with large potential for heavy crudes and natural gas), Bolivia, and even Chile.
The AAPG Latin America Region membership currently stands at 1,300. Latin America offers fertile grounds for AAPG to grow its membership and to foster research, advance the science of petroleum geology, and promote technology. The potential is huge!
The steering Committee of AAPG Latin America Region is currently formed by: President Miguel Ramirez (ExxonMobil retiree, currently contractor for ExxonMobil: anyone questioning my acumen will not be blamed!); Victor Ramirez (Ecopetrol Manager of Offshore areas); Vice President Pedro Alarcon (Petro-Tech Peruana) and Jorge Calvache (Shell Colombia). A number of other volunteers provide invaluable contributions to the Latin Region. Among them are Victor Vega (Equion), Ignacio Iregui (Oxy); Carlos Santacruz (Noble Energy), Hans Krause (Telpico) and many others. I want to take the opportunity to thank and recognize the contributions of all of our volunteers.
Our main efforts will be concentrated in the following initiatives:
2013 Cartagena ICE
In April 2011 the AAPG EC approved bringing the International Conference and Exhibition (ICE) to Cartagena, Colombia. The Steering Committee will work closely with AAPG’s Global Developments and Conventions Department, Victor Vega (General Chair), Colombian Association of Petroleum Geologists and Geophysicists (ACGGP) and other key stakeholders in making sure that the September 2013 ICE in Cartagena is the best ever conducted by the AAPG.
After the success of the first ever Latin America GTW, conducted in Veracruz, Mexico, in November 2010, we now see that GTWs are a very effective way of sharing and advancing topics of interest to the Region. The second GTW on Unconventional Resources, held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in June 2011 was well received and also very successful. Colombia was fortunate to host the third GTW in the Region in December 2011. This workshop was a resounding success with 151 participants. Plans are to conduct GTWs on topics of interest in Brazil and Peru in 2012 and in Trinidad in 2013.
Imperial Barrel Awards
The IBA Latin America regional competition will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 16th, 2012. More than eight universities from Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, and Argentina will be participating in this great competition that promotes exploration thinking among students of master’s programs.
Under the leadership of Ignacio Iregui, several young professional networks have been activated in Colombia, Peru, and other countries. The young professionals are offering support to local student chapters and will provide a key network in securing the continuity of AAPG student membership after graduation.
Several student chapters have been activated in Argentina (1), Brazil (2), Colombia (4), Ecuador (1), Peru (3), Trinidad and Tobago (1), and Venezuela (2).
Thanks to the generosity of Royal Dutch Shell, which has committed significant funds to sponsor Distinguished Lecture tours to the Region, we have begun planning the selection of the sites (Rio, Buenos Aires, Lima, Bogota, Mexico) and the topics of interest to the geoscience communities in each country. This program, with an initial target of 5 to 10 lecturers between 2012 and 2013, will bring significant value to the members of the Latin American Region.
This summary provides a good idea of all the accomplishments achieved so far. The future is bright and all the officers and volunteers are excited about the additional GTWs, ICE 2013, and activities included in our business plan.