Latin America: Energy Supply, Political Developments, and U.S. Policy Approaches [Updated April 23, 2008]   [open pdf - 265KB]

"This report examines Latin America's current political environment and its apparent effect on energy production in the region. It also discusses efforts to help many Latin American and Caribbean countries dependent on energy imports, including Venezuela's preferential oil programs, the Mexico-led Meso-American Energy Integration Program, and U.S.-Brazilian cooperation on biofuels. The report also examines policy approaches that have been proposed for increased hemispheric energy cooperation, congressional interest in the topic of hemispheric energy security, and related legislative initiatives: S. 193 (Lugar), the Energy Diplomacy and Security Act of 2007, and S. 1007 (Lugar), the United States-Brazil Energy Cooperation Pact of 2007." "Western Hemisphere countries supply the United States with 50% of its imported crude oil. Three countries in the hemisphere--Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela--account for the lion's share. Other significant oil producers in the region include Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, and Argentina. In terms of proven oil reserves, the Western Hemisphere has about 24% of reserves worldwide. After Canada, Venezuela has the second largest amount of proven oil reserves in the hemisphere, almost 87 billion barrels, but this does not include as much as 270 billion barrels of extra-heavy and bitumen deposits from the Orinoco belt. If these deposits became recoverable, Venezuela's proven reserves would exceed those of Saudi Arabia. In terms of natural gas, the United States has the largest amount of proven reserves in the hemisphere, about 39%, followed by Venezuela, almost 31%. Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, and Bolivia also have sizable reserves."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33693
Public Domain
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