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Revolutionizing Latin American Oil Flows

In the past two weeks, we have analyzed the prospects of US crude exports to Europe and Asia, both with its region-specific challenges yet both holding distinct promise for American exporters. The US’ relationship with Latin America differs in nature – instead of a burgeoning romance it might be likened to a decades-long marriage when both partners need each other yet are on the verge of a rupture. One cannot compare the ties binding together the US and Latin America to any other intercontinental relationship, primarily because no other regions have a history of oil production that long-standing and close.

It was the US business that stood behind Mexico’s first-ever exploration well, first production and first exported volumes (in 1911). The same is also true for Venezuela whose early 20th century “oil rush” was a US-led enterprise. Yet many Latin American countries are tired of Washington’s hard-line treatment and found a new strategic partner in China, a country that sees its place as that of a country “undergoing a similar stage of development and facing tasks similar” to the ones South American nations face. Add to this Russia which has made inroads into South America largely thanks to personal ties built with Venezuelan and Bolivian leaders and you have a recipe for a proxy clash.

The Venezuelan issue pervades America’s attitude towards Latin America – it rendered tattered relationships even more…




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