Andrea Rocca: “Argentina’s high potential with oil and gas from Vaca Muerta and lithium is there to be unleashed”

The President of Tecpetrol’s Energy Transition Unit participated in a panel on the challenges facing Latin America in the context of the development of clean energies, alongside executives from other regional companies and officials from different countries.

“What does Latin America need to do to get financing and move ahead with its transition agenda? This is a question of investment, and what’s required to achieve and maintain it in order to drive change,” opened the moderator Carlos Pascual, Sr. Vice President Geopolitics and International Affairs at S&P, moderator in the Strategic Roundtable on ‘LATAM: Resource potential and policy constraints’ in the fourth day of CERAWeek.

Andrea Rocca, the President of Tecpetrol’s Energy Transition Unit, shared the table with Ricardo Roa Barragán, CEO of Ecopetrol; Luz Stella Murgas Malla, the President of the Colombian Natural Gas Association; Andrea Arrobo, the Minister of Energy and Mines in Ecuador; Pietro Mendes, the Secretary of Hydrocarbons in the Ministry of Mines and Energy of Brazil; Viviana Coelho, the Executive Manager of Climate Change at Petrobras; and Clarissa Lins, the Founder and CEO of Catavento (a Brazilian climate change consultancy firm).

Roundtable LATAM: Resource potential and policy constraints.-

The panel discussed the situation that different countries are undergoing at national level, where several projects are underway that aim to contribute to the process of decarbonization and clean energy. The difficulties raised had to do mainly with the lack of financing flows, compounded by domestic social, political or economic issues. They agreed on the need to create incentives and integrate public and private sector efforts to foster the right conditions for long-term commitments to the energy transition.

Andrea Rocca explained that Argentina has very distinctive characteristics: “The country has Vaca Muerta, one of the largest unconventional resources fields in the world, which could meet the energy needs of its population for the next over 100 years. But Argentina also has the largest reserves of lithium (24% of global resources), as well as excellent conditions for wind power generation. However, current macro-economic conditions are affecting and delaying the development of these very rich resources, such as domestic oil prices lower than international prices, currency exchange limitations, lack of long-term policies, among others.”

He added that, “at present, the biggest investment in Vaca Muerta comes from local players because of all the challenges foreign companies encounter when facing the macro-economic environment. In the case of lithium, Chinese companies have been the biggest foreign investors over the last years; even so, Argentina’s lithium potential is still untapped. Despite holding 24% of global resources, Argentina's current production accounts for only 5%. Macro-economic challenges also delay the development of infrastructure, including pipelines, transportation and ports, necessary for carrying out operations in these fields.”

"We at Tecpetrol decided to invest in these areas because the potential they hold outweighs the difficulties. We see efforts being made to address these macro issues, and that could lead to an acceleration in the development of these resources," concluded Andrea Rocca.

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