Welcome to the June edition of Energy Panorama. We are pleased to share this month’s featured report, the summary and panel notes from the XXVIII La Jolla Energy Conference, as well as video highlights and sideline interviews.
As the summary reflects, the conference this year again contemplated the elements comprising the transformation rippling across the global energy sector. Conference discussions explored many of the angles, players, and implications associated with the global energy transition trends and developments, but also what is driving investment in the sector and where it is coming from.
Several discussions included a view over the horizon for issues and developments that will shape the Latin American energy sector of tomorrow. This was particularly true with a lively opening workshop focused on lithium and the so-called Lithium Triangle in Argentina, Chile and Bolivia.
Panels and breakout sessions delved into myriad segments of the energy sector such as cyber security, transparency and corruption, natural gas and renewables, roof top vs. utility scale energy resources, grid flexibility, regional integration, among others. There was also ample time and robust discussion focused on key country-specific developments in the region including Colombia, Mexico, Argentina and Venezuela.
Our podcast series this month assessed the importance of Argentina’s historic first LNG export cargo and Energy Transition Initiative Director Cecilia Aguillon contributed commentary on digital technology in Latin America’s power sector for the Inter-American Dialogue’s Energy Advisor.
We look forward to our collaboration with the Ministry of Energy and Non Renewable Natural Resources in Ecuador for our Energy Roundtable set for July 25 in Quito, as well as our partnership with IPD Latin America for the inaugural Madrid Energy Conference set for Sep 4-6 in Madrid, Spain.
On May 22-23 we hosted the XXVIII annual La Jolla Energy Conference. For readers of Panorama, it goes without saying that the month of May at the Institute of the Americas is synonymous with our annual La Jolla Energy Conference.
We continued with our restructured agenda this year and efforts aimed at greater audience participation and discussion, as well as a “deeper dive” on some of the most critical elements that cut across the entire energy sector. Issues such as lithium, safety in the energy sector, transparency and corruption, renewables and natural gas, cyber security, distributed generation, the costs of energy transition, how much oil for how long and a host of country-specific debates including Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela. Our traditional nightcap roundtable saw the largest turnout ever for a robust debate of what comes next in Venezuela, with an emphasis on the political and electoral outlook. But it wasn’t all work, and despite uncooperative weather, we enjoyed the marvelous views and outdoor ambiance that marks networking and sidebar discussions at the La Jolla Conference. We even squeezed in a teambuilding hike at Torrey Pines Reserve.
On the content side, the conference discussions reflected the immense amount of change across Latin America and what may be best termed an uncertainty rippling across the region and the energy sector. Indeed, the massive transformation coursing across the global energy sector continues to demand attention by policymakers, regulators, investors as does the broader macroeconomic outlook for several key markets.
We are admittedly partial but we feel this year’s discussions again served to foster high-level public-private dialogue on the future of the hemisphere’s energy sector. The La Jolla Conference remains the linchpin for the Institute of the Americas objective of serving as an honest broker of policy and investment debates surrounding the hemisphere’s most critical energy and sustainability issues.
Stay tuned for our La Jolla Conference report for further details. In the meantime, check out our sideline interviews with panelists and speakers, as well as the articles and stories derived from discussions at the La Jolla Conference.
This month’s webinar series featured a continuation of our discussion and analysis of lithium and a presentation aimed a demystifying the so-called Lithium Triangle and developments in the broader lithium market. Additionally, we were pleased to host a presentation of OLADE’s Energy Panorama and Outlook 2018 as part of our webinar series.
Finally, we are delighted to include Part 2 of the reports based upon our Argentina Energy Roundtable – Huge Energy Potential, Big Challenges.
Welcome to the April edition of Energy Panorama and our countdown to the XXVIII La Jolla Conference on May 22-23.
We are pleased to feature reports based upon discussions at our Mexico and Argentina Roundtables in February and March.
The Argentina report is part one from our two-day event and focuses on the challenges that companies face in developing Vaca Muerta, one of the world’s biggest shale plays and the first to come into large-scale production outside North America. Indeed, the resources are so vast that the production growth has turned around more than a decade of dwindling oil and natural gas output, and led to bright forecasts. But as the discussions at the roundtable underscored and are encapsulated in our report, Argentina’s notorious economic and financial volatility have stunted growth for decades. And the country is hurtling toward a presidential election in October.
Our discussions in Mexico and subsequent Roundtable report focused on an assessment of the Lopez Obrador government’s vision and outlook for energy self-sufficiency and the role for oil & gas and electricity. The Roundtable was timed to coincide with 100-day mark for the government, a useful marker to take stock of the policy proposals and implementation strategies of the new administration.
Given the timing of the event, a great deal of attention was placed on the government’s effort aimed at reducing theft and illegal taps, the so-called huachicoleo. Secretary of Safety and Citizen Security Alfonso Durazo offered closing keynote remarks and an update on the gains the government had made to address the issue of theft and losses.
Discussions also focused on a critical challenge facing the new government: recovering Mexico’s declining oil production as well as how to manage the dramatic transformation of the electric sector and cost-competitive marketplace that each day is incorporating more megawatts of clean power.
Indeed, one of the most important outcomes was the discussion of how to advance expansion of the electric sector and a possible mechanism for long term power auctions under the current market rules. Our non-resident fellow, Leonardo Beltran, synthesized the idea into an op-ed published in Reforma; the link can be found below.
As the calendar turns to May be sure to make plans to join us in La Jolla for the XXVIII La Jolla Conference on May 22-23. But make sure you arrive the afternoon of May 21st to take full advantage of the activities we have organized. And don’t forget to leave your ties at home!
Welcome to the March edition of Energy Panorama. We spent the last week of the month in Buenos Aires for our two-day Roundtable.
Our Roundtable featured keynote remarks from Secretary of Energy Gustavo Lopetegui (see presentation below), participation by Deputy Assistant Secretary Elizabeth Urbanas from the US Department of Energy, the president of state energy firm YPF, the chairmen of Argentina’s national electricity and natural gas regulators and several other private sector representatives and government officials.
Across two days and several high level panels there was intense discussion of oil and gas issues as well as the emerging role for the lithium market and the broader contours of how the global energy transition is unfolding in Argentina. A unique lunch panel featured a debate with renowned political analysts and their insights on the intersection of energy and politics as the country heads into a presidential election this October.
Not surprisingly, much of the discussion centered on the ongoing structural adjustments and reforms enacted by the Macri administration, particularly those aimed at subsidies and fiscal incentives both in terms of consumers but also energy producers.
Vaca Muerta and the country’s success in developing the massive unconventional resource potential was also heavily debated. Though important gains have been made to reduce logistical and operation costs, continued focus on efficiency measures and creating a more competitive ecosystem is a must, panelists underscored. There is no doubt that further efforts are required to boost the amount and capabilities of service and equipment providers, but also to greatly increase the number of operators in the country’s oil and gas sector.
Furthermore, how to create sufficient infrastructure to “move the molecules” remains a key piece to the challenge. Gains have been made utilizing long-inactive pipelines and infrastructure and reopening natural gas exchanges with Chile and Brazil in the short to medium term makes eminent good sense.
A majority of panelists agreed that the key to fully monetizing Vaca Muerta’s potential was to fully plug Argentina into the global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market. To do so will require all segments of the country’s energy sector to participate in the strategic development of the resource – the government, YPF, private sector participants, regulators and civil society. The technology, geography and volumes, not to mention contractual arrangements, are but a few of the elements that will require attention and crucial decisions in the coming months and years. Further, one panelist argued that political consensus and a law supported across party lines stipulating and protecting investment in such a major infrastructure project is needed to reduce the so-called country risk component.
Beyond the fiscal impacts debated, Argentina’s energy sector is also undergoing a broader transformation and disruption brought about by global trends. Indeed, the policy efforts aimed at increasing renewable energy deployment through the government’s RenovAr program was discussed. Panelists agreed that the effort to date had been important but a thorough cost benefit analysis was required in order to best consolidate and determine the gains and to continue forward momentum. Moreover, a new distributed generation law passed last year is being developed for implementation. Benchmarking against international examples from California to Germany to Chile were discussed during the Roundtable.
And, of course, the role that mobility and electric vehicles are playing in the discussion of energy and emissions reduction is an increasing topic for debate in Argentina. Programs and goals set by the City of Buenos Aires, but also efforts made at the provincial level, have led to an uptick over the last year or so in options for citizens to utilize electric transportation, both mass transit and individual vehicles.
Finally, the topic of lithium featured an illuminating discussion of the potential for Argentina to position itself as a global player. However, the market is still quite small, prices are volatile and the number of projects that exist solely on paper far exceeds the reality that global headlines portray for lithium. But as several panelists argued, therein is the opportunity for oil and gas companies to bring to bear financing and operational insights to the sector and perhaps facilitate some of the dormant projects and boost the development of Argentina’s lithium market.
p>March also featured participation in a panel at the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC focused on energy under the AMLO administration and our analysis and commentary on the question of distributed generation in Argentina as well as part of our podcast series.
The Institute of the Americas Energy & Sustainability program wrapped up February and kicked off March in Mexico City. Our Roundtable counted two days of debate and discussion focused on the energy agenda for the new administration, understanding self-sufficiency goals, how to define energy security and the state of the country’s energy sector as the Lopez Obrador administration reaches the 100-day milestone.
An update on the efforts to combat fuel theft was the topic of a closing keynote address by Alfonso Durazo, Secretary of Security and Citizen Protection. We also convened a unique half-day dedicated to workforce development and talent creation for Mexico’s energy sector together with our partner ANUIES, Mexico’s association of universities and higher learning institutions. Event photo gallery and presentations are available below. An event report and policy paper will be published in late March.
Our webinar series this month also focused on Mexico and examined natural gas. The webinar was a follow-up to a two-part report series that we published by John McNeece and his assessment of the burgeoning US-Mexico natural gas trade and risks associated with the spike in imports into Mexico from US gas fields and an ever-growing pipeline infrastructure footprint. He was joined by Veronica Irastorza for the webinar.
Below we also include IOA Board Member and former BP Mexico chief Chris Sladen’s latest ANZMEX Energy Matters column and his views on the outlook for oil production in Mexico.
As Colombia launched its first major renewable energy auction at the end of February, we weighed in on the key issues for possible bidders and the outlook for the tender.
Our podcast series turned to Venezuela and the unfolding political developments in the country as Juan Guaido, the leader of the national assembly, declared himself interim president and was quickly recognized by a long list of countries in the hemisphere. We spoke to UCSD Distinguished Professor of Political Science David Mares for his insights and views.
At the end of March, we host our annual Argentina Energy Roundtable in Buenos Aires. This year’s event will be divided into two days with oil and gas the focus on March 27, particularly the advances in the country’s unconventional resource development and the future of natural gas including possibilities for moving beyond regional natural gas exports to LNG. Discussion of developments around lithium and energy transition, the RenovAr program and mobility trends will comprise the agenda for the March 28 sessions. The election year backdrop will also figure prominently.
Happy New Year and welcome to the first installment of Energy Panorama for 2019.
We are very pleased to share this month’s featured report LNG and the Panama Canal: Should Another Expansion Already Be on the Drawing Board? The report was prepared during the fall 2018 quarter as part of a research project by Melisa Uzcategui-Ebner, Timona Ghosh, and Edgar Kelly-Garcia, graduate students at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy & Strategy (GPS).
The Panama Canal’s third set of locks opened in June 2016. By the end of the canal’s fiscal year last September, LNG transits had contributed significantly to a record-setting year of 442.1 million tons crossing its waters. Beyond an assessment of the current state of LNG usage in the canal, the report analyzes a series of elements associated with the possibility of another expansion using the third set of locks as a reference. Where the Panama Canal fits in the larger geopolitical outlook could be greatly determined by its future expansion, how such an additional expansion is financed and if LNG continues to grow in importance for the canal’s operations and financial well-being.
Our webinar series kicked off the year with Mexico Oil Outlook 2019 and a new format with a virtual panel. It was a lively discussion and debate with John Padilla, Managing Director, IPD Latin America and Gonzalo Monroy, Managing Director, GMEC with insights and analysis on the issues of oil production, refining, fuels infrastructure and investment as the new year unfolds in Mexico.
Our podcast series delved into fuels and finance in Mexico in an interview with Marco Cota, CEO of Talanza Energy.
Following up on our Roundtable in Bogota last year and podcast with energy ministry officials in December, we published an analysis of the outlook for renewable energy in Colombia as the first auction takes place. We also contributed our insights to understanding the changes in Argentina’s energy secretariat as the new year arrived.
Our webinar series continues on February 6 with Mexico: Natural Gas Outlook 2019. John McNeece, the author of a two-part analysis of US-Mexico natural gas trade will present his research and particularly the risks to Mexico presented by its growing reliance on imports from the US, and how those risks may be mitigated. He will be joined by Veronica Irastorza, Associate Director at NERA Economic Consulting in Mexico City.
We head to Mexico City for our first Roundtable of the year on February 28/March 1 and Buenos Aires on March 27-28 for our annual Energy Roundtable.
Álvaro Villasante, Vicepresidente de Generación del Grupo Energía Bogotá, participó en el panel transición energética de América Latina del #MEC2019, en donde se discutieron las 3 D y cómo las empresas pueden abordar la transformación energética global. #EnergyTransition
"Regulation should open the space for innovation (in energy transaction) that is not competitive today" said, Thiago Barral Ferreira, CEO Brazilian Energy Research Department. #MEC2019, #Madrid,