BUENOS AIRES, May 22 (Reuters) - Argentina has won the "geological lottery" with its 1,000-foot-thick Vaca Muerta shale oil and gas field in Patagonia, a spokesman for Chevron said on Thursday, as the U.S. energy giant increases its investments in the country.
The company and state-owned oil firm YPF announced plans last month to invest an additional $1.6 billion to develop Vaca Muerta.
"The shale play in Argentina is unique because of the rock. Its thickness. Argentina has kind of won the geological lottery," Chevron spokesman Kent Robertson told Reuters on Thursday during a trip to Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires.
Shale formations often resemble layer cakes, with shale squeezed between layers of unproductive rock.
"But Vaca Muerta is like one big cake, 1,000 feet (305 meters) thick in places, which means one well can be much more productive," Robertson said.
Some studies indicate Argentina is sitting atop a shale bounty that could transform the outlook for the Western Hemisphere's supply and secure the South American country's energy self-sufficiency for decades.
"What we've seen with YPF has been positive so far. Their per-well costs are coming down," Robertson added. "And the provincial governments in the area of Vaca Muerta understand oil development. They support it. So that's one less barrier."
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