50 0 km
Source: Gas y Petroleos del Neuquen
VACA MUERTA TOC
with marine and continental rocks covering from Triassic to
the Paleocene. The Precuyo Group, Los Molles, Vaca Muerta, and Agrio fomations form most of the source rocks for
production in the region. Most of the area’s reservoirs range
from late Triassic to late Cretaceous, with seals from Jurassic
The northwestern part of the basin features predominantly dry gas with wet gas and oil windows moving south
and east (Fig. 2).
While Neuquen Province contains the bulk of the basin’s
prospective acreage, Mendoza Province to the north also
holds Vaca Muerta prospective.
GyP put out its fifth call to bid in May for several blocks
in the Vaca Muerta play. The company expects up to 50 more
investment opportunities through 2018.
GeoPark Ltd. and Wintershall Energia SA discovered a Neuquen
basin oil field in the CN-V block in August. The GeoPark Rio
Grande West 1, which was drilled to 5,500 ft, flowed 300 b/d
of 28° gravity oil naturally with 7% water during early tests of
four reservoir sands (OGJ Online, Aug. 10, 2017). It targeted
the Lower Cretaceous Neuquen Group. According to GeoPark
CEO Jim Park, the company will drill a second exploration well
on the block in 2018 and is currently evaluating appraisal well
locations. “The field is being tested for the next several months
to put the well in production,” Park said.
The company reports 15 potential reservoir sands below
GeoPark’s Argentina work program for 2017 included seven gross wells at a total cost of $5-7 million. Its Argentina program was part of its total 2017 35-well program across Latin
“The Argentina program includes exploration projects
in the Puelen and Sierra del Nevado blocks in the Neuquen
basin,” Park said. Five of these wells have been drilled and
are being evaluated and completed. Park
said the company expects to increase this
drilling program in 2018.
The Sierra del Nevado and Puelen
blocks are operated by Pluspetrol SA. Puelen block is north of the producing El
Corcobo oil field operated by Pluspetrol,
and Sierra del Nevado is east of the Llan-canelo oil field operated by YPF.
GeoPark’s three blocks are in the Mendoza Province (political boundary) which
is within the Neuquen basin (geological
boundary). The company’s 117,000-acre
CN-V block has Vaca Muerta upside potential, and there are several Vaca Muerta
projects underway in Mendoza Province.
GeoPark has a Latin American portfolio
of 37 blocks in five countries: Colombia, Peru, Chile, Brazil, and Argentina.
“The Vaca Muerta is an exciting new unconventional resource play,” Park said.
“However, our principal focus in Argentina remains its large attractive low-risk
conventional oil and gas opportunities.”
GeoPark has discovered 600 million bbl
of oil in Argentina exploring underdeveloped, low-cost acreage.
Argentina is more suitable to agile, independent operators, according to Park.
But increased investment by major operating companies will benefit the Vaca
Muerta play by bringing more service
providers to the region and lowering the
general cost of shale operations.