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Don’t Count on Oil to Reignite Latin America

Some regard Latin America as the world’s new oil frontier, and think that the region could potentially add three million barrels per day to global output during the next decade. But, although Brazil is well placed to ramp up production, Mexico and Venezuela seem unlikely to reverse declining production anytime soon.

NEW YORK – Last year, according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy, Latin America produced 8.6 million barrels of oil per day (bpd), nearly 9% of the world’s total oil output. Although Mexico and Venezuela have traditionally been the region’s two dominant producers, Brazil has now overtaken them both and will remain the leading Latin American producer for the foreseeable future. In July, Brazil’s output – almost all of it from offshore fields – reached a record 2.78 million bpd.

In fact, some regard Latin America as the world’s new oil frontier, and think that the region could potentially add three million bpd to global output during the next decade. But, although Brazil is well placed to ramp up production, achieving such an increase in regional output would require Mexico and Venezuela to reverse their ongoing production declines. And that does not seem realistic.

In Brazil, the oil sector is likely to attract $22 billion worth of investment this year and a similar amount in each of the next five years. As a result, production is expected to increase to around 3.7 million bpd by 2025.

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