Due to energy-efficiency trends, environmental regulation, and energy matrices reconfiguration, new technologies such as gasification (application IGCC), gas to liquid (GTL) or lignocellulosic ethanol will experience a high demand in Latin America in the years to come.
A significant amount of investments is likely in upstream and downstream segments, such as deepwater E&P, FPSO (Floating Production, Storage and Offloading) vessels, liquefaction and regasification terminals, and refineries reconfiguration to treat extra-heavy crude oil.
"Currently, in 2009, after taking into consideration the oil sands count, extra heavy crude oil, and deep water reservoirs, around 50 percent of the conventionally proven reserves in the world have been deployed," says Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Julio Campos. "Production costs are spiraling because oil and gas fields are becoming increasingly deeper."
Latin American countries are seeking to diversify energy matrices with a majority having biofuel policies. For instance, wind farm construction is underway in Chile, Argentina, and Mexico even as other renewable fuels, such as biogas, are under development in almost all Latin American countries.
In Colombia, a country with large coal reserves, innovative technologies are under development to capitalize on the coal mine-associated methane that is produce.
Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) intends to invest approximately $125 billion in 2013 in various projects, under the 'oil sowing plan', which includes six development projects. One of them includes treating or upgrading extra heavy crude projects in the Orinoco basin.
Oil-producing countries should invest in exploration to replenish reserves. This will involve significant investments in new technologies, such as magneto telluric, aerial and terrestrial magnetometry, radiometry, teledection, 2D and 3D seismic, and gravimetrics.
"It is vital to invest and sign agreements to capitalize on deepwater E&P existing technologies to drill in 'ultra-deep' and 'pre-salt' oil fields, such as technologies developed by companies such as Petrobras or StatoilHydro," explains Campos. "Furthermore, Mexico should utilize Petrobras technologies in the Gulf of Mexico. Those technologies were successfully used in the exploration of pre-salt Campos and Santos basins.
In Mexico, 29 of the 36 main oil wells are declining and mature oil fields support 92 percent of oil production.
"In countries such as Brazil or Venezuela, large investments in innovative technologies are expected to focus on pre-salt discoveries in Brazil; heavy oil upgrading, such as the Venezuelan 'swata sweet' made of extra-heavy oil from the Orinoco Basin; and the construction of refineries and transport infrastructure for oil, gas and derivatives," concludes Campos.