Madrid-based Repsol YPF has raised its estimate of shale oil and gas resources in Argentina's Vaca Muerta formation to 22.807 billion BOE, the company said Wednesday.
An external audit by Ryder Scott shows that the Vaca Muerta formation holds gross prospective oil, condensate and gas resources of 21.167 billion BOE in an area covering 3,116 square miles (8,071 square kilometers). Repsol holds net interest in 1,936 square miles (5,015 square kilometers), or an estimated 12,351 billion BOE, of these prospective resources.
The audit's results indicate that Vaca Muerta holds contingent resources of 1,525 million BOE. Repsol's net interest in these resources is 1,213 million BOE, including 883 million bbls of oil and 330 million BOE of gas.
Preliminary results indicate that 77 percent of the area contains oil; the remaining acreage contains dry and wet gas. The Vaca Muerta formation covers approximately 7.4 million acres, of which Repsol has a net 3 million acres.
Since 2009, Repsol has spent $300 million on exploration, mapping and initial development in the Vaca Muerta formation. As of Dec. 31, 2011, Vaca Muerta had produced 700,000 boe. Repsol plans to drill 20 wells at Vaca Muerta this year to further investigate the formation prospective resources.
"With the current results, Argentina has the opportunity to reproduce the revolution in non-conventional hydrocarbons seen in the United States by developing the resources contained in the Vaca Muerta formation," the company said in a statement.
Successful exploration and development of Vaca Muerta's resources could double Argentina's existing oil and gas production in the next decade. However, Repsol estimates that this would require $25 billion per year of investment to develop all existing prospective resources.
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