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An Overview of the Southern Cone Natural Gas Business: An Argument For Regional Integration

Adrian F. Pérès, Mining and Oil & Gas Development in Latin America (2001)

As defined in this work, the Southern Cone includes the countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay. If the Southern Cone were a country, its economy over the last five years would have ranged between the 6th and 8th largest in the world with an annual GDP of about US$1 trillion, and a population approaching 230 million people.1 In terms of its absolute size, the region's economy is larger than that of Canada and approaching that of the United Kingdom. However, on a per capita basis, the GDP of the conglomeration of these developing economies is 29% of that of Canada and of the United Kingdom. In terms of energy consumption, the Southern Cone's lower per capita use of energy is even more pronounced at 0.93 MMtoe/year, only 11% and 23% of these two developed economies, respectively. Notwithstanding the scale of the regional economy and the population comparable to developed countries, Southern Cone nations in comparison consume a mere fraction of energy. When taken in conjunction, these characteristics suggest the significant growth potential of energy consumption in the region, even beyond per capita GDP, as economic activity and energy consumption feed off one another, requiring increased levels of energy supply to either be developed indigenously to the region or from foreign suppliers.

Following the lead of Argentina, natural gas is expected to play a