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YPF announces discovery of huge unconventional shale oil deposits in Mendoza

Friday, March 30th 2012 - 07:31 UTC
Full article 39 comments
The deposits with horizontal drilling could deliver a billion barrels of oil equivalent  The deposits with horizontal drilling could deliver a billion barrels of oil equivalent

Argentina's biggest energy company YPF, has found unconventional shale oil and natural gas in Mendoza province, confirming the extension of the massive Vaca Muerta area, officials said on Thursday.

YPF, which is controlled by Spain's Repsol said exploration at the Payun Oeste and Valle del Rio Grande blocks pointed to an estimated one billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) in unconventional oil and gas in Mendoza.

Energy resources and reserves in the province, which borders the Andes mountain range in western Argentina, currently stand at 685 million boe.

“The results are very encouraging. They tell us these are horizontal wells similar to what is done in the United States, we can replicate the US model in Mendoza province” Tomas Garcia Blanco, head of YPF's exploration and production, told reporters gathered in Malargue, Mendoza.

Horizontal wells permit access to rocky areas where oil and gas could not be extracted with conventional vertical drilling. US energy production has surged thanks to this technology.

The announcement comes when YPF is under mounting pressure from President Cristina Fernandez and provincial governors to boost declining production to help ease the country’s energy import burden.

Thursday's announcement follows the decision by six provinces including Mendoza to revoke operating licenses granted to YPF on the grounds of slack investment.

Officials have also accused YPF of overcharging for fuel and the country's CNV securities regulator said on Thursday it was investigating “unusual” prices and volumes in YPF share deals.

The Spanish owned company says its investment in Argentina rose 50% in 2011, with most of the cash channelled into upstream including exploration projects like those that led to the huge Vaca Muerta shale find, which could double Argentina's energy output.

The shale find in Mendoza province “increases the potential of the Vaca Muerta formation,” YPF said in a statement.

The company, which produced about 35% of all the oil extracted in Argentina last year, holds concessions on roughly 40% of Vaca Muerta and says huge investment will be needed to develop it.
 

Categories: Energy & Oil, Argentina.

Top Comments

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  • GreekYoghurt

    Pity they're not capable of extracting shale oil deposits without completely destroying the environment. That's if they're able to do it at all, given the technology required. Kind of desperate that they're resorting to shale anyways, rather than just finding crude deposits which I guess they don't have.

    Also it seems they care about the environment in the Falklands (not their country), but not in Mendoza (their country). How very Argentinian.

    Mar 30th, 2012 - 07:43 am 0
  • Doveoverdover

    Great time to make an announcement though. Timed ,entirely coincidently, to take a bit of the wind out of the sails of any positive announcement from British oil companies operating in the South Atlantic.

    Mar 30th, 2012 - 07:57 am 0
  • Malvinero1

    the environment. That's if they're able to do it at all, given the technology required. Kind of desperate that they're resorting to shale anyways, rather than just finding crude deposits which I guess they don't have.

    Which country has the most shale gas reserves outside of the United States and China?

    Canada? Nope.

    Australia? Wrong again.

    According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Argentina ranks third in recoverable shale gas reserves. Argentina has 774 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of technically recoverable shale gas resources, with more than half of that in the Neuquén Basin on the western side of the country.
    http://www.investmentu.com/2011/October/shale-gas-boom-in-argentina.html
    yogi: You are an ignorant!

    Mar 30th, 2012 - 07:58 am 0
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