The good, the bad, the ugly

Latin America Region

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Enrique Velasquez
Enrique Velasquez

Latin America’s current story of exploration, development and potential may be the best known among all parts of the globe – and not just because AAPG recently held its successful international conference in Rio de Janeiro.

Practically, it’s a tale of two countries.

First, the good news: Brazil’s pre-salt discoveries, industry developments and enormous potential have been headline grabbers for the past two years, and no signs of letting up can be found.

“The ‘state’ of the Latin America Region is very active in Brazil because of the pre-salt discoveries,” Velasquez said, “with high exploration activity in Colombia since numerous contracts were signed in the past years.

The rest of the story?

“In the remaining countries of the Region activity is pretty low,” he said, “with minor activities in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Argentina.”

Exploration, then is “healthy in a couple of countries, and troubled in the rest of the region.”

Velasquez expects activity in Brazil and Colombia to increase in 2010, including development of the Brazilian discoveries that have dominated news stories for the past few years.

He hopes that the Region will be able to overcome the “biggest challenge,” which is a lack of activity in all but Brazil, Colombia and, to a smaller extent, Peru.

“I would like to see major changes in contractual and fiscal terms for exploration in countries like Ecuador, Argentina, Bolivia and Venezuela that allows an increase in exploration activity and in demand for professionals in these countries,” Velasquez said.

In the meantime, keep watching for stories with either a Rio de Janeiro or Bogota dateline. The news there in 2010 should be good.

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