Source: Gas y Petroleos del Neuquen
NEUQUEN PROVINCE, VACA MUERTA WELLS
50 0 km
Argentina’s Vaca Muerta shale will remain active
through 2018 as two major operators have committed a combined $700 million to the region. The
30,000-sq km Vaca Muerta formation is thought
to contain 308 tcf of technically recoverable shale
gas and 16 billion bbl of oil and condensate. It lies
primarily within the Neuquen basin, in the central-western part of the country (Fig. 1).
Chevron signed its initial agreement
with YPF SA in July 2013. The company
has experienced a 50% reduction in horizontal drilling costs during the 4 years
the joint venture has been active in the region. Costs are down to $8.2 million from
$16.2 million/well in 2013 (OGJ Online,
Oct. 24, 2017). The company added a
third drilling rig at its 96,000-acre Loma
Campana concession and committed to
investing $500 million in development.
Chevron has divested its assets in Argentina’s Rio Negro Province to focus on
its Neuquen basin operations. President
Energy, a subsidiary of the UK’s President
Petroleum, reported in September that it
had purchased 100% of Chevron’s producing Estancia Vieja-Puesto Flores block
in the northern part of Roca, Argentina.
President holds a 90% interest in the
blocks with Ediphsa, Rio Negro’s provincial energy company, holding the remaining 10% stake.
ExxonMobil Corp. holds six unconventional blocks and one conventional
block in Argentina’s Vaca Muerta shale.
The company has invested $500 million
in the region since entering in 2011.
It plans to launch a long-term pilot
project at Vaca Muerta that could result
in 300 wells and 11 million cu m/d of
gas over a 35-year development span.
The operator’s Los Toldos I South block
is 175 km northwest of Neuquen City.
An initial $200-million investment will
bring seven wells to production and pay
to build production facilities and develop export
infrastructure (OGJ Online, Oct. 25, 2017).
Neuquen Province has approved the company’s
development plan. Subsidiary ExxonMobil Exploration Argentina SRL will operate the block with
80% interest. Province-owned Gas y Petroleo del
Neuquen SA (GyP) and Tecpetrol each hold 10%.
Neuquen basin has a 6,000-m sedimentary column
Argentina exploration spend
increases, operations underway