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Border disputes that can disrupt energy investments

June 16, 2007

There are many unresolved border disputes in South America. Some of the most famous are listed below.

The UN Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is expected to rule on the Guyana-Suriname border dispute possibly in June. The maritime border conflict between both northern South American countries has hindered offshore exploration in Guyana-Suriname waters. In the west, Guyana faces a similar problem with Venezuela.

One of the most famous border disputes that has caused a lot of headaches is between Chile and Bolivia, which put an end to the $6-billion Pacific LNG project in 2003.

Other unresolved hotspot border disputes in the region include:

■ Colombia-Venezuela: Territorial dispute over the maritime border between both countries at the Gulf of Venezuela, where about 25 miles off the northernmost tip of Colombia lie three strategic islands called Los Monjes. The acreage around the islands was not included in the offshore Rafael Urdaneta tender. The islands control the entrance to the potential hydrocarbon-prone Gulf of Venezuela.

■ Peru-Chile: Like Bolivia, Peru ceded land to Chile after the War of the Pacific (1879-84). While Chile has expressed interest in importing in the future piped gas from Peru, the unresolved maritime border dispute between both countries could torpedo such plans.

■ Peru/Bolivia-Chile: As a result of losing the War of the Pacific against Chile, Bolivia lost large areas of land, including coastal access. In the 1970s, the military governments of Bolivia’s Hugo Banzer and Chile’s Augusto Pinochet were close to ending the dispute by granting Bolivia a corridor to the Pacific Ocean. However, Peru objected as the land Chile planned to cede to Bolivia was formerly Peruvian. Chile and Bolivia have since 1978 broken off diplomatic relations.

■ Argentina-UK: Argentina and the UK went to war in 1982 over the Falkland Islands. One of the pillars of Argentine foreign policy is regaining sovereignty over the islands. Some companies believe the waters are geologically promising.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. jameswillisisthebest permalink
    September 8, 2007 8:06 pm

    This is my first post
    just saying HI

  2. etessieri permalink*
    September 9, 2007 4:23 pm

    Hi James, glad to hear from you!

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