Argentina's Shale Industry Lures International Oil Companies

 “We will establish a strategic partnership with YPF to develop oil and gas resources. A time-table has not yet been set up but we will start working on it. It will be an investment on areas agreed to with YPF,” said Eurnekian whose Corporation America manages Argentina’s airports, along with Uruguay and Italy, among other investments.

YPF is in advanced talks with Dow Chemical Co. about finalizing a shale gas development joint venture at Vaca Muerta, and is expected to be completed in the next few months. A preliminary accord with Dow Chemical is already in place.

Argentina’s state oil concern YPF two years ago started production at Loma la Lata, a windswept Patagonian plain under which lies clay-rich soil that contains shale oil. It is part of a larger shale-rich expanse Vaca Muerta.

To produce it for market, unconventional oil requires the same hydraulic fracturing  and horizontal drilling techniques as shale gas.

And now, YPF is using its shale oil know-how to speed into operation about 200 unconventional wells in the Loma la Lata, Vaca Muerta area every year. It plans to spend $15 billion in a decade, reaching 1,500-2,000 of these wells.

"With just two of these areas of 2,000 wells each, Argentina can fully meet its domestic oil demand, and even have some left over to export," Pablo Iuliano, YPF's unconventional oil manager, told Rigzone.

Energy reserves that lie below Vaca Muerta—in the provinces of Neuquen and Mendoza—have become the country's great hope for turning around its energy sector, and achieving a trade surplus.


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