Colombia is looking to tap into its reserves of shale gas and in turn attract a potential $500m in investment into the country.

The country is to auction its unconventional gas reserves this year and has already received interest from Chevron, ExxonMobil and Shell.

The government’s hydrocarbons director Julio Cesar Vera Diaz said that the auctions of the unconventional gas blocks “could easily draw hundreds of millions of dollars”.

Utilising shale gas reserves has transformed the energy market in North America, and now those Latin American countries with unconventional gas potential are looking for similar success.

Argentina has the greatest reserves by far – and estimated 774 trillion cubic feet, the third biggest in the world behind the US (862 t/c ft) and China (1275 t/c ft).

Mexico is also estimated to have vast untapped shale stock (681 t/c ft). Chile’s reserves are said to be, in comparison, a modest 19 t/c ft) yet could have a significant impact on the country’s energy mix and its export potential.

Other Latin American countries with smaller reserves are Bolivia and Chile.

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