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Considerations Attending Investments in Oil and Gas Operations in Latin America

Earl A. Brown, Jr., International Minerals Acquisition and Operations

Many factors must be considered in connection with an investment in oil and gas operations in Latin America. In that connection, although the Latin American area includes Mexico and the countries of Central America, my remarks will be directed to investments in South America. Private oil and gas investments in Mexico are very limited and not characteristic; oil and gas operations in Central America have not been significant to date.

For orientation, attention is directed to a map of South America showing the population and types of government in the countries in this area. We see that approximately 70 percent of the total population of South America is now being governed by military regimes. With respect to the countries shown as having free elections and democratic forms of government, the military is still very influential in several of these countries. However, the desirability of military rule in this area is a [13-2] much debated question; while the college professors generally feel otherwise, there are many people who feel that a military government is necessary at this stage in the development of South America, since this insures stability for the development of the natural resources and economy of this vast area. The map also illustrates the importance of Brazil in this area, with more than half of the total population of South America and a land area larger t