Argentine state-controlled energy company YPF said it signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday with China's Sinopec pertaining to the eventual development of conventional and non-conventional oil and gas projects in Patagonia.
Signed in Beijing by YPF CEO Miguel Galuccio and Sinopec Chairman Fu Chengyu, the agreement expresses the companies' intention to form a joint venture in the areas of exploration, drilling, production, refining, re-gasification, distribution and sales, the statement said.
The MOU is a great step forward that opens new possibilities for the long-term development of Argentine oil and gas resources within the particular context of the recent plunge in global crude prices, Galuccio was quoted as saying.
Sinopec and YPF agreed last August to re-launch exploration and development activity in the La Ventana area of the massive and highly promising Vaca Muerta shale formation, located in southwestern Argentina.
The Chinese company's local unit, Sinopec Argentina Exploration and Production, and YPF also have begun a technical audit of some areas of Vaca Muerta that could be potentially explored and developed.
YPF has already signed similar agreements with U.S. oil super-major Chevron and Malaysia's Petronas for the development of Vaca Muerta, one of the world's largest reservoirs of non-conventional hydrocarbons.