Abstract

Oil production in South America and the Caribbean area during 1958 was 1,120,800,000 bbls. or 3,071,100 b./d. compared with 1,169,200,000 bbls. or 3,202,700 b./d. during 1957. The reduction was due mainly to the decrease of 174,000 b./d. in Venezuela. In Brazil production was nearly doubled, from 27,700 b./d. to 51,800 b./d., while small gains were also noted in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Trinidad. The total number of wells drilled in the area in 1958 amounted to 2,418 compared with 3,074 in 1957. This decrease was again due mainly to the reduction in drilling in Venezuela from 1,828 wells to 1,111. Prominent among new developments in South America and the Caribbean were: 1) reopening of Argentina to foreign investment in the petroleum industry, and 2) increase in income tax in Venezuela, resulting in substantial increase in the Government's share of oil-company profits. The president of Venezuela has reportedly stated that there would be no more oil concessions granted in Venezuela, and exploration activity in Venezuela was being reduced at the end of the year. In Argentina, contracts calling for very substantial capital expenditures during the next few years have been signed with a number of foreign oil and financial organizations. In this way it is hoped to conserve foreign currency now being used for the importation of petroleum and its products. Several Central American countries saw continued leasing activity as a result of new petroleum laws, and considerable surface exploration and drilling were carried out.

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