Natural Gas, Energy Policy, and Regional Integration
Brazil and the Southern Cone
April 30, 2007
Given the dramatic shifts in energy policy in key producing countries of the region with the wave of economic liberalization that swept through Latin America during the 1990s, the Americas Program of the Center for Strategic and International Studies held a conference in Washington, D.C. on March 16, 2007 to analyze the prospects for economic development and regional energy integration in Brazil and the Southern Cone of Latin America – specifically Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru. Based on presentations by leading experts from the region and from the United States, the conference addressed the major questions regarding the potential of natural gas as an integrating element, including the possibilities for the consolidation of a much-discussed “gas hub” or “energy ring” linking the countries of the region. It specifically examined Bolivia’s potential as a key supplier of natural gas not only to Argentina and Brazil but to regional consumers, the outlook for production in Brazil and Argentina, Peru’s capacity to supply markets in the Southern Cone, the options open to Brazil and Chile in obtaining reliable sources of energy, and the policy environment for private investment in exploration and production of natural gas in the region.
The presentations and discussions that took place at the conference are summarized in this report, as well as conclusions and recommendations for policy-makers.