Traditionally one of the most prominent oil and natural gas markets in South America, Argentina is increasingly turning towards alternative forms of energy, with the government exploring shale gas and renewable options as it looks to diversify its power market. The shift comes amid challenges to longstanding hydrocarbons production, which has seen Argentina record export deficits in recent years.According to the “BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2017”, natural gas accounts for 50.2 percent of Argentina’s power. Oil was second at 35.9 percent and hydro third with 9.8 percent. Other forms of energy consumption consisted of nuclear power (2.1 percent) and coal (1.2 percent), with renewables accounting for just 0.8 percent.
While the country’s energy mix has remained relatively stable in recent years, changes to the energy market have created shifts that the government is now attempting to address. Years of protective policy relating to the hydrocarbons sector have affected the industry’s competitiveness, and have subsequently had an impact on output. In 2016 Argentina produced an average of 619,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd), a 27 percent decrease on 2006 levels. In contrast, consumption has increased by 44 percent to 687,000 bpd. This resulted in Argentina moving from a net exporter of crude oil to a net importer in 2008. A similar transformation occurred in gas, where annual production fell from 46.1bn cu metres in 2006 to 38.3bn a decade later.