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Industry reform continues, but at snail's pace

Foreign investment in the energy sector of most Latin American countries is dropping, even as it soars in the rest of the world. The region cannot afford such a slow-down, writes Robert Olsen

LATIN American governments are fond of pointing out how under-explored their countries are. However, private-sector investors seem less concerned about the attractions of virgin geology than about the toxic brew of poor exploration results and restrictive government regulations and there is a danger that countries throughout the region will fail to attract the investment they need to prevent output from falling. The doors to investment in Latin America's energy sector were thrown open in many countries in the 1990s, amid a region-wide drive to reform national economies in response to financial crises. The results are well known: billions of dollars in foreign investment poured into the regi

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