Considerable interest has been shown, during recent years, in thepossibilities of developing oil fields in the South American Republics, nowthat the exhaustion of our present fields can be seen in the not very distantfuture. The demand for fuel oil and its products has been increasing far morerapidly than our increment of production during the last few years. Increase ofconsumption has been largely curtailed by the lack of sufficient supply. Themain factors that have contributed to our previous neglect of the southernfields have been as follows:
Lack of sufficient demand for the product.
Competition with producing fields, having large production, low cost, andbetter geographical position, such as Tampico, Mexico.
Greater interest in home fields with ready market at hand.
Our ignorance of southern economic and geologic conditions, due to thedistance between those areas and our financial centers.
Economic conditions in the southern countries, necessitating high costs ofexploration and exploitation of the fields.
Our lack of understanding of the business methods of the LatinAmerican.
It must be borne in mind that the oil-development work done to the present timein South America has, with one exception, been undertaken upon lands whichpossessed direct evidence of oil in seepages or asphaltic deposits, occurringeither immediately upon the lands or in their close vicinity. The developmentof oil fields in South America is therefore in the pioneer stage. It is not atall improbable that ?hidden fields? will be uncovered in future work, as hasoccurred notably in the mid-continental field of this country within recentyears.