Latin America Advisor

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Is Argentina Poised to Again Become a Net Oil Exporter?

Pablo González, the president of Argentine state energy company YPF, said the Trans-Andean pipeline will allow Argentina to increase oil exports to Chile. // File Photo: YPF.

The Trans-Andean pipeline, which has not been functional since 2006, is expected to resume operations in March after undergoing repairs. When back online, the pipeline will allow Argentina to increase oil exports to Chile, Pablo González, the president of Argentine state energy company YPF’s board said Sept. 2. What were the main reasons behind the pipeline’s fall into disuse, and why has getting it operational again taken so long? What will be the main benefits of getting the pipeline up and running again, and which stakeholders stand to gain the most? How important is the pipeline to Argentina’s ability to grow its crude exports?

Juan Cruz Díaz, managing director, Macarena Michienzi, specialist, both at Cefeidas Group: “The Trans-Andean Oil Pipeline began operations in 1994. Through 2005, Chilean state-owned oil and gas company ENAP contracted its Argentine counterpart, YPF, and Chevron to supply Chile with oil through it. However, amid the contracts’ expiration and oil output falling below the level required for the pipeline to function, Argentina halted cross-border shipments. The pipeline’s closure capped off years of consistent drops in production. Between 1998 and 2002, investment in oil exploration, extractive technology and upstream infrastructure fell short of what was needed to counterbalance the rate of well exhaustion, a reality that remained the case through the 2010s. This upended Argentina’s energy sourcing. By 2011, the traditionally energy-exporting nation became a net importer. However, in 2019, in the wake of the Vaca Muerta production boom, Buenos Aires and Santiago have agreed to work to reactivate the Trans-Andean pipeline, which has the potential to pump upwards of…”

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A sister publication of the Inter-American Dialogue’s daily Latin America Advisor, the weekly Energy Advisor captures fresh analysis from business leaders and government officials on the most important developments in oil and gas, biofuels, the power sector, renewables, new technologies, and the policy debates shaping the future of energy in the Western Hemisphere and beyond. To subscribe or for more information, contact Erik Brand, publisher of the Advisor, at

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