The region’s total natural gas recoverable reserves amounted to 6.89 thousand million tonnes of oil equivalent, representing 4% of the global gas reserves. Top countries per proved recoverable reserves include Venezuela (5,617 bcm), Brazil (424 bcm), Peru (414 bcm), Argentina (332 bcm), Trinidad & Tobago (326 bcm) and Bolivia (281 bcm). Top producing countries include Trinidad & Tobago (39.6 bcm), Argentina (36.5 bcm), Venezuela (32.4 bcm), Brazil (22.9 bcm), Bolivia (20.9 bcm), Peru (12.5 bcm) and Colombia (11 bcm).

Venezuela holds by far the largest natural gas reserves in the region and ranks eighth in the world according to EIA. The majority of gas reserves (about 90%) are associated with oil and future production could come from non-associated gas fields. The national oil company, PdVSA, manages the greatest part of onshore natural gas assets. The production curb has been in a general uptrend in the past few years, but not enough to fulfil the plans to export natural gas. The country imported in 2013 2.1 bcm of natural gas via the Trans-Caribbean pipeline from Colombia. Current gas projects are being delayed due to operational and macroeconomic stability.

Brazil’s natural gas production has increased steadily over the years, but there is much potential yet to be tapped. Most of the reserves are located offshore and in the regions of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The main owner of the 9,190 km of gas pipelines of the national company Petrobras. While the share of natural gas in the country’s energy mix is small, it is estimated that the share will increase in line with rising natural gas-fired electricity consumption and rising domestic power demand. Natural gas will come primarily from the ultra-deepwater Campos basin, which currently supplies over 50% of the total associated gas. Natural gas consumption totalled 40.9 in 2015. The country imports natural gas from Bolivia by pipeline, but imports will increase in form of LNG and from different suppliers as well.

Argentina’s has vast natural gas resources, with an estimated at 22.7 tcm of technically recoverable shale gas. The largest natural gas producing basin is the Neuquén, which accounts for around 58% of output in 2016, followed by Austral Basin (23.4%) and Gulfo San Jorge Basin (12.8%). The shale gas located in the Vaca Muerta region is highly prospective but currently underexplored. (Source: BP, 2016 and BMI Research, 2016)

Gas Recoverable Reserves by region

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Note

Gas data represents natural gas only, for unconventional gas please refer country notes within the WER 2013 report gas chapter.