Abstract

This paper includes 10 self-explanatory charts (8 tables and 2 graphs) which allow a global view of the Natural Gas situation within Latin America and the Caribbean, including the resource's relation with electricity generation.

Introduction

The history of natural gas has been closely related to that of oil for many years, because the production of the former is linked to the production of the latter.

During the last decades, both histories start taking different paths, and natural gas begins to write its own chapters, not only because of its quality as fuel but also due to its abundance.

This paper includes 10 self-explanatory charts (8 tables and 2 graphs) which allow a global view of the Natural Gas situation within Latin America and the Caribbean as regards reserves, consumption and the resource's relation with electricity generation.

For the purpose of having a view of regional integration possibilities, the nations have been grouped into four regions, namely:

North Central, comprising Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama;

Caribbean, comprising Barbados, Cuba, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Surinam and Trinidad Tobago;

Equatorial, comprising Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela;

Southern, comprising Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

The North Central region represents the union of Mexico with Central America, in which the latter nations could be supplied through a gaspipe from Mexico and Guatemala.

With reference to the Caribbean region, the only supply alternative would be Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), the source of which could be Trinidad Tobago.

In the case of the Equatorial region, all the countries in the region have natural gas reserves and there are currently several development and and interconnection projects.

As regards the Southern region, there are different importation/exportation schemes through a gaspipe among these nations, some of them already in force.

The period analyzed goes from 1970 to 1995.

Chart #1: Proven natural gas reserves

Of a total of twenty six analyzed nations, only twelve present data on natural gas reserves in the different regions. Of the North Central region, Mexico and Guatemala are the only countries with reserves, the former country having practically all of them.

In the Caribbean region. reserves correspond to Barbados and Trinidad Tobago, the latter accounting for practically all of them. Cuba produces natural gas as a result of its oil production, although its reserves are not accounted due to the fact that they are insignificant (The natural gas share in primary energy consumption is of 0.8%).

As regards the Equatorial region, all its nations present natural gas reserves, 95% of them corresponding to Venezuela. In the Southern region, reserves correspond to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Peru, the Argentine share reaching 55%.

Of the analyzed regions, the highest percentage corresponds to the Equatorial one, with a current share of more than 55%. As Chart # 1 shows, LA&C constantly increased its reserves throughout the analyzed years, this not being the case for the different regions.

The North Central region substantially increased its reserves during the 1970–1980 period, only to stabilize afterwards and then gradually decrease as from 1985.

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