South America has abundant natural resources and represents a significant untapped potential for energy production and demand. The potential resources must be harnessed in order for the region to further capitalize on its strong economic growth profile. 

The unprecedented shale revolution in the USA and the speed of new investment into LNG export facilities has changed the face of global energy markets. Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico are the largest importers and consumers of natural gas, while Trinidad and Tobago and Peru are the main exporters. However, Argentina with its Vast Vaca Muerta shale gas play and Brazil have the potential to move from LNG customers to LNG suppliers. 

Outlook

Gas-fired generation is increasingly viewed as the best option to secure a reliable supply of electricity in South America, with a growing number of countries building LNG import terminals and Gas to Power projects. Natural gas and LNG are supplementing large scale hydro as a base load in some regions, while in others it is providing an alternative to expensive petroleum-based fuels such as diesel and fuel oil for power generation. 

Highlights:

COLOMBIA

The Minister of Mines and Energy, Maria Fernanda Suárez, stated that the energy transition is one of the priorities for the National Government and that it will boost clean energy from gas as well as unconventional renewable energy sources.

Natural gas is a growing part of the country’s energy mix, and now makes up more than one-fifth of its total energy basket.

State oil firm Ecopetrol and U.S. operator Anadarko last year reported Colombia’s largest gas find in nearly three decades in the ultra-deep waters of the Caribbean Sea.

A future driver of increased natural gas demand is the view that gas fired power plants are a solution for the frequent brownouts triggered by growing electricity consumption.

Buenaventura regasification plant. The project entails the construction of an LNG regasification plant to assure adequate gas supplies in western Colombia in cases of shortage. This is the second regasification project in the country and will help with the region’s competitiveness and development. 

ARGENTINA

Argentina takes first step towards LNG exports. Argentina is set to start exporting its gas via an FLNG unit from a part of its vast Vaca Muerta shale gas resource next year. The operations, due to start in the second quarter of 2019, will introduce Argentina into the small club of around 20 countries exporting LNG.

Argentina has started to export natural gas to various points in Chile for residential, electric power and industrial uses.

Argentina’s government wants construction of the country’s first LNG liquefaction terminal to start in the second half of 2019, making it possible to export an increasing surplus of production from the giant Vaca Muerta shale play.

BRAZIL

Brazil, with the Pre-Salt fields located offshore in the Atlantic Ocean, aims to be a gas producer and enter the group of countries exporting LNG

PERU

Peru proved natural reserves and production situated the country with the third largest total of gas in South America. It becane the first South America country to export LNG.