Argentine Oil Output Down 3% in H1, NatGas Up 1.6%

Argentine crude production fell 3% to 18.9 million cubic meters (Mm3, 119 million barrels) in the first six months of the year compared to the year-ago period, according to a report from local consulting firm IES obtained by BNamericas.

May 2006 was the 56th consecutive month in which oil production fell year-on-year, although June 2006 showed a 0.3% increase in output over the same month in 2005.

The largest oil producers in the country were the YPF subsidiary of Spanish oil major Repsol YPF (NYSE: REP) with a 40% market share, followed by Anglo-Argentine firm Pan American Energy (PAE) with 16.1%. Brazil's federal energy company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) has 9.5% market share and US oil major Chevron (NYSE: CVX) 8.2%.

Only PAE's oil production grew year-on-year in 1H06, showing a 1.4% increase. YPF produced 6.9% less crude, while Petrobras and Chevron produced 5.9% and 13.2% less respectively.

Crude consumption rose 10.3% in 1H06 from 1H05 resulting from an 8.7% jump in refining activities to meet higher domestic demand for liquid fuels.


Argentina's natural gas production increased 1.6% to 25.5 billion cubic meters (Bm3) in the first half of 2006 from the same period in 2005, the IES report said.

YPF production represents 28.2% of the market, followed by the local subsidiary of French oil firm Total (NYSE: TOT) with 24.8%, PAE with 13.6%, Petrobras with 9.6% and local oil company Pluspetrol with 9.3%.

YPF was the only major operator to show a decrease in gas production year-on-year, falling 7.9% from 1H05.

Total produced 13.2% more gas as a result of production from the Carina de Tierra del Fuego field, while PAE's, Pluspetrol's and Petrobras' gas production increased 7%, 6.4% and 4.1% respectively.

Domestic demand for natural gas fell 0.8% compared to 1H05, partially as a result of decreased consumption by thermo generation plants.

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