Will Venezuela return as a key regional energy player?

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Will Venezuela return as a key regional energy player?

Venezuela could once again play an important role in the region’s energy industry in a scenario of economic recovery since it could increase hydrocarbons production very quickly.

Jorge Milanese, Latin America director for energy consultancy Sproule, made the comment during a webinar organized by Latin America and Caribbean oil, gas and biofuels association Arpel.

For the analyst, Venezuela’s natural gas resources may drive regional integration amid the increasing contribution of the fuel in energy transition.

Milanese pitched synergies with Colombia and Trinidad and Tobago, pointing to the latter nation’s position as a gas export hub.

Previously, Kevin Ramnarine, an energy consultant and former energy minister for Trinidad and Tobago, said that the supply of Venezuelan gas to Trinidad and Tobago - which has been facing a gas shortfall - was inevitable.

Early last year, the countries agreed to undertake separate and independent development of the Loran-Manatee field due to US sanctions which block US companies from doing business with Venezuela’s PDVSA.

In the case of Colombia, strained relations between Bogotá and Caracas would keep any trade on the shelf for now, albeit the region's changing geopolitical landscape, with administrations more palatable to the regime of Nicolás Maduro in Bolivia and Argentina, may reopen doors.

According to BP’s latest statistical review of world energy, Venezuela topped Latin America and the Caribbean’s proven oil and gas reserves in 2019 with 304Bb and 6.3Tm3, followed by Brazil (12.7Bb) and Argentina and Brazil (each with 0.4Tm3).

(This story, originally published on March 24th, was corrected on March 25th to show the US Department of State -waiver which expires on June 3- will not require Chevron, Halliburton, Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, and Weatherford to wind down operations in Venezuela.

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