Latin American Energy Program

The Center for Energy Studies’ Latin American Energy Program (LAEP) aims to understand the role of Latin America in the future balance of global energy markets. The region is endowed with significant crude oil and natural gas resources, representing the largest resource base outside of the Middle East. The program, directed by fellow Francisco Monaldi, has two main components:



Building a research agenda on key issues for oil and gas policy in Latin America, as well as developing a network of scholars, in the U.S. and the region, who work on these issues.



Organizing events on Latin America’s energy policy and serving as a space for discussion on these topics through the Latin American Energy Roundtable.



Francisco Monaldi, fellow in Latin American Energy Policy, directs the program and works on issues of political economy of oil in the region.

Fellow Mark Jones, who directs the Argentina Program, works on political institutions and policy in the region.

Postdoctoral fellow Adrian Duhalt focuses on Mexico’s energy policy.

Graduate fellow Igor Hernandez supports research projects on the region.

Nonresident fellows with special focus on Latin America include Benigna Leiss (Mexico energy policy); Olivera Jankovska (Mexico, electricity policy); David Mares (regional energy policy); Lourdes Melgar (Mexico energy policy); Luis Pacheco (Venezuela and Colombia); and Juan Rosellón (electricity, Mexico).

CES fellows and Baker Institute faculty scholars who conduct work on energy issues in the region include Ken Medlock (gas policy, Mexico, Brazil); Michelle Michot Foss (energy and minerals, Mexico); Jim Krane (geopolitics, energy subsidies); Gabriel Collins (shale, water); Rachel Meidl (environment); and Pedro Alvarez (environmental engineering).

The Baker Institute’s Center for the United States and Mexico, directed by fellow Tony Payan, actively works with CES on projects related to Mexico.


The LAEP research agenda focuses on the policies for upstream development of the oil and gas resources in the region, including Venezuela, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Guyana — which have the most significant resources — as well as Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago, which have implemented successful resource policies. Other producing countries such as Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru are also covered by the program. It also works with CES’ Energy and Minerals Program, led by Michelle Michot Foss, on issues related to mining policy.

The research agenda includes topics such as political institutions, energy policies and above-ground risks; national oil companies governance and management; institutional, fiscal and contractual frameworks in oil and gas; local content policies and the value chain; energy subsides; and managing resource wealth and the resource curse. Recent projects include:


Mexico’s Energy Reform

Key industry practices followed by international oil and gas companies, if adequately implemented by Pemex, may complement Mexico’s energy plan to help recognize areas of opportunity for Pemex, the authors write.


Venezuela’s Oil Industry

Venezuela, which has one of the largest hydrocarbon endowments in the world, offers a striking case study on the resource curse.


Argentina’s Shale

The authors evaluate Argentina’s energy sector and test the hypothesis that investments in tight oil and shale gas extraction expose investors to fewer risks than extracting conventional oil and gas.


Latin American Energy Roundtable (LAER)

The Roundtable is a group of our Energy Forum member executives, academics, policymakers and energy experts who meet regularly to discuss key policy issues and developments in the region. Guests have included energy ministers, oil company CEOs, and heads of energy regulators. For information on Energy Forum membership, please contact our director of development, Christene Kimmel, at

Latin America Initiative

Until 2020, the Baker Institute hosted a broad program on Latin American issues, the Latin America Initiative, founded and directed by Erika de la Garza. The program covered energy issues, but also other regional issues like immigration, rule of law, and crime. LAI publications and events are available in the Baker Institute’s online research library and video archives.