G20 energy ministers descend on southern Argentina today to discuss the challenges of securing clean and sustainable sources of electricity. Former Shell executive turned Argentine Energy Minister Juan Jose Aranguren will host the talks.
Recent reports indicate the G20 energy ministers will invest $1.6 trillion in new natural gas projects. This includes opening fracking in Argentina’s Patagonia region, which contains one of the world’s largest gas reserves. The investment could eventually help the global economy move from coal dependency to renewable energy sources.
This comes in the midst of Argentina’s monetary crisis, which necessitated a $50 billion IMF bailout last week. As trade unions strike in protest today, President Mauricio Macri could point to Patagonian fracking as a means of economic stimulation.
Such a proposition remains risky, though, as it will require major up-front investments for the already cash-strapped nation. With foreign investors fleeing the country and credit markets reeling with 40% interest rates, major investments from private enterprises remain difficult, too. Thus, Patagonian fracking will provide little immediate relief for Argentina’s ailing economy, leaving President Macri in a precarious position ahead of next year’s elections.
Josh analyses the economic impacts of geopolitical developments in emerging economies. He contributes regularly to The Daily Brief.