Sunday, May 27, 2012
However, production is being hampered ever since last month when President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's government took control of the largest energy company, YPF. A company which had not just been a public one before then, but owned by a Spanish company.
Since then, production is actually down, despite all the new finds. Companies continue to be willing to search for the oil, but very few are willing to work the fields and risk having Argentina take over their sites. Argentina had already been a slightly unfavorable place for energy companies due to price controls and restrictions on imports and exports.
Analysts warn that Argentina may be headed the way of Mexico and Venezuela. Both of those countries had started to see booms in oil production, but they nationalized any successful finds. That led to a pull out by all foreign oil companies, and their money, which all but ended the industry. Some point with hope to the Mexican presidential election on July 1, as well as the illness of the Venezuelan leader.
Canada, Brazil, and Colombia seen as bright spots for oil production in the Americas. All of them are encouraging the growth of the industry. Companies are much more willing to produce there, where there's no threat of nationalization. Colombia has some security issues, but with more money coming in, stability seems to be following.
The Falkland Islands is another area being searched heavily for it's possible oil resources. Unfortunately, Argentina has seen that as reason to start up their old threats against the Islands, which are part of the United Kingdom. Thirty years ago the two countries fought a war over them, after Argentina invaded. British soldiers won back the islands.
Many questions surround the United States, and what it will do with it's own oil resources. The Obama government has repeatedly blocked companies from using the fields, which may very well be the largest in the world. In fact, several states alone could have more than Saudi Arabia.
Perhaps the most famous blocking of oil was the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have brought oil from Canada and North Dakota down throughout the US to Texas. The Obama administration blocked it and the project died. Or maybe not, as several states have gone ahead with the sections that go through their own lands.
Other states are going their own ways as well. North Dakota continues to increase production, despite efforts by the national government to stop it. Colorado, another state that has huge amounts of oil and natural gas available, is working on ways to encourage production within it's borders.
All of this, combined, leads to a possible future where the Americas replace the Middle East as the center for oil production. Companies want to promote this, as the Western Hemisphere is a much more stable region. And with all the finds through out, it would seem that the resources of the West dwarf those of the Middle East.