Politics hampers Latin America’s exploitation of its untapped oil potential

Venezuela’s oil reserves are the world’s second largest after Saudi Arabia (photo:dpa)
Venezuela’s oil reserves are the world’s second largest after Saudi Arabia (photo:dpa)

Latin America has the world’s second largest proven oil reserves outside the Middle East but exploiting that potential has been hampered by politics. Production and investment have remained static at a time of record oil prices but this could all change if governments in the southern hemisphere grasp reform to attract foreign investors.

<i>The wave of resource nationalism that swept Latin America during the previous decade, limited the development of the oil sector’s potential. The phenomenon was largely the consequence of high oil prices, regressive tax systems, and the preceding success of liberalisation reforms in the 1990s. Nationalisations in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, an...

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