Between 2005 and 2015, the Latin American and Caribbean region experienced a growth of its Gross Domestic Product of approximately 3.5% per year. This economic growth was accompanied by an annual increase of 2.2% and 4% consumption in oil and natural gas respectively. Unconventional hydrocarbons offer a historic opportunity to supply to the region the energy and resources required to continue along this continually growing path.

ARPEL and its member companies published a document developed by a multidisciplinary group of oil and gas companies with operations in Latin America. The document proposes alternatives to make unconventional oil and gas projects technically and economically viable under a sustainability framework, addressing key issues related to supply chain management, social and environmental management and operational guidelines. Also, the document makes regulatory proposals to foster the sustainable development of unconventional resources, taking into consideration their particularities concerning the investments required, the production profile, logistics and technology applied.

In order to provide technical rigour, alternatives derive from an international review of best practices described in a wide range of scientific reports and policies published by governmental and inter-governmental organisations, as well as by industry associations that support the implementation of sustainable practices in oil and gas companies.

Unconventional hydrocarbons represent a significant fraction of total energy resources in several countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. Therefore, the sustainable development of these resources will ensure an additional source to diversify the energy matrix and accompany the efforts of States to achieve increasingly higher levels of prosperity.

This paper-based on the ARPEL document- provides a comprehensible technical background that can assist governments and the hydrocarbon industry, as well as other stakeholders, to develop the basis for a sustainable development of unconventional resources and a lasting benefit for the Latin American and Caribbean States.

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