the effects of pollution from sources ranging from motor vehicles to power plants, refineries, and petrochemical plants. 20
Of all the Latin American countries, Mexico, which has suffered some of the region's most serious deterioration of environmental quality, has perhaps been the most aggressive in addressing the problems caused by pollution. In 1991, the country shut down three highly polluting refineries with capacity totalling 164,000 b/d. It also imports MTBE to reduce the lead content and increase the quality of gasoline. Brazil and Venezuela are planning to build their own MTBE capacity as part of their overall refinery expansion programs. In August 1990, the state oil companies of these two countries signed a mutual cooperation agreement to combat oil spills in Venezuelan and Brazilian territorial waters. Another indication that the Latin American governments are making efforts to protect the environment is the projected increase of gas use in a number of countries. As regional trade expands, gas will become the fastest-growing traded energy product in Latin America by 2000.
In short, hydrocarbons policy has a tremendous impact on the development of energy production and consumption. While the issues discussed above are shared by many Latin American countries, each individual country in the region faces a unique set of concerns in its energy sector development, because of the dissimilarity in size, energy resource endowments, and history of energy use. Depending on their policy choices, Latin American countries will face different advantages or constraints in achieving their individual development goals during the 1990s.