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12 Energy Investment Disputes in Latin America: A Historical Perspective

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Chapter Summary

Investments in the energy sector are unique when compared to most other foreign investments. The property rights of the state over natural resources are often constitutionally protected and no one but the state can grant rights to exploit or market them. By the 1980s and 1990s, a resurgence of democracy and pressure from multilateral agencies resulted in a rapid move by Latin American states to join the global trade and investment community. By looking at the history of foreign investment in the energy sector in Latin America, the chapter first addresses the basic paradigm of a long term energy investment and then reviews the evolution of dispute resolution tools as an effective counterweight to investment risk. It then discusses the recent conduct of Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia and how the cycle of conduct in those states has given rise to claims for compensation by investors.

Keywords: Bolivia; Ecuador; energy sector; foreign investments; Latin American states; property rights; Venezuela



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