Energy in the Americas

By Isaac Cohen*

Three facts are changing profoundly the Americas’ energy outlook. All three result from the persistence of $100 per barrel of oil, which have made viable the use of new technologies..

Last September, the International Energy Agency said the United States this year will surpass Russia as the leading producer of liquid fuels, outside of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The United States already is a net exporter of refined oil products, not seen since 1949. New technologies, such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, have pushed US oil reserves to the highest level since 1985, while gas reserves increased 10 percent to the highest level since 1977.

Canada’s exploitation of oil sands has led to increased production of heavy crude oil, which has to be transported to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico, designed to process such heavier oil. However, the construction of what is known as the Keystone pipeline, to transport crude from Canada, is pending because of opposition from environmental organizations. The construction of the Keystone pipeline is essential for Canada to remain the main supplier of US oil imports.

Finally, if the Brazilian oil giant Petrobras can surmount some of the difficulties of exploiting deep sea oil discoveries, by 2020, the company expects to double production to 4.2 million barrels per day. Therefore, Brazil can become the main oil producer of Latin America, with Venezuela and Mexico moving to second and third place, respectively.

*International analyst and consultant. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio. Former Director, UNECLAC Washington Office.

 

*International analyst and consultant. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio. Former Director, UNECLAC Washington Office.

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