South American Oil:

Marginal Producers Not a Likely Source for Increased U.S. Imports

NSIAD-92-227: Published: Jun 16, 1992. Publicly Released: Jul 16, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the petroleum industries of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago, focusing on: (1) the amount of crude oil the United States imports from those countries; (2) those countries' expected crude oil production through 2010; and (3) petroleum industry investment reforms in those countries.

GAO found that: (1) 4 percent of U.S. crude oil imports came from the countries reviewed, mostly from Columbia, Ecuador, and Trinidad and Tobago; (2) oil production in Brazil, Columbia, and Ecuador increased by 47 percent in the last decade, while production in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago declined; (3) oil production is expected to increase between 1990 and 2000, then remain at the same level through 2010; and (4) the countries have made numerous petroleum-related investment reforms to attract investors, but will need funding annually to sustain their oil exploration, production, refining, and distribution capabilities.