Argentina's Kirchner Meets With ExxonMobil Head

NEW YORK - Argentina's President Cristina Kirchner met on Thursday with the head of U.S. oil and gas giant Exxon Mobil Corp. to discuss investments in her country, Argentine officials said in a statement.

Mrs. Kirchner and Miguel Galuccio, the head of recently nationalized Argentine oil company YPF SA, spoke to Exxon Mobil Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson about unconventional hydrocarbon development in Argentina, YPF said in a statement.

"Unconventional" refers to the complex methods used to harvest hard-to-reach oil and gas deposits, such as fracking, which involves shattering source rock in order to release reserves.

At the meeting requested by Mr. Tillerson at a Manhattan hotel, the officials discussed ways for YPF and ExxonMobil to accelerate their plans to develop the unconventional resources.

YPF described the meeting as "very positive," while a spokesperson said that ExxonMobil would have no comment.

Mr. Galuccio, 44, who worked at oil field services giant Schlumberger before accepting his new post in May, also met with banks and investment funds, YPF officials said, and was scheduled on Friday to meet with other businessmen.

Argentina hopes to develop the 30,000-square kilometer Vaca Muerta reserve, located in Neuquen province, in Argentina's southern Patagonia region.

Argentina has the world's third-largest shale-based, unconventional hydrocarbon resources, after the U.S. and China, according to Mr. Galuccio.

In May, the Argentine government seized YPF from Repsol, accusing the Spanish oil giant of allowing oil and gas production to lapse and forcing Argentina's oil import bill to rise.

YPF produces 34% of the oil and 25% of the natural gas in Argentina, according to industry figures.

The company aims to invest $37.2 billion between 2013 and 2017 so that Argentina can obtain long-term energy self-sufficiency.

Earlier this month YPF signed a memorandum of understanding with U.S. energy giant Chevron Corp. to explore and develop shale oil and gas in Vaca Muerta.


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