Latin America’s second biggest economy is regarding the arrival of unconventional oil and gas on the scene is regarded as an opportunity to reverse the steady decline the country has experienced in oil and gas production. Argentinian outlook appear to be looking up, industry insiders suggest that the prospects are certainly taking many of the right boxes. Nevertheless, there are problems such as the country’s energy policies, regular tree environment and energy markets, that make the country at first sight a challenging place to invest in. However, there has been a turnaround in government attitudes towards investors as the realisation that for Argentina to duplicate the American unconventional revolution. Already, there have been a number of policy and regulatory changes to reverse the past downward spiral in investment in exploration and production, that resulted in Argentina turning itself from a net energy exporter to a net energy importer, which although politically popular has put severe economic strains on its economy.
Argentina has some of the world’s biggest and best quality reserves of shale hydrocarbons states KPMG Shale Development: Global Update 7 October 2013. The US Energy Information Administration June 2013 report estimates suggest that Argentina could have reserves of at least 2732 TCF of shale gas of which 774 TCF is technically recoverable. In comparison with its neighbour Brazil which is thought to hold a potential 906 TCF of which 206 is technically recoverable. On a global scale Argentinian shale gas reserves is in 3rd place behind the United States and China. Surveys suggest Argentina will have around 771 TCF of potential shale oil reserves, of which 20% is likely to be recoverable. It must be noted that such figures must be treated with caution. It took the United States several years of exploration before a clearer picture of reserves could be made, which resulted in estimates being reduced.
Where is it
Argentinian shale oil and gas reserves are located in for main areas distant from main population centres. These are the Chaco basin in the North, Neuquén basin in the West not far from Chile’s capital of Santiago, and in the South the Golfo San Jorge basin and in the Deep South close to Antarctica the Austral Magallaries basin. Recent studies by the state energy company Y PF suggests that at least 20% of shale gas reserves are located in the traditional oil and gas producing region of the Neuquén basin, especially in an area known as Vaca Meurta, which is the Spanish for dead cow. YPF discovered the giant shale oil and gas at Vacu Meurta in 2010 and controls more than a third of the acreage at Vaca Muerta. YPF is at present aggressively pursuing partnerships, in particular with U.S. companies such as Chevron and Dow Chemical, to develop the play.
Argentina’s Energy Fundamentals
For nearly a century since the first oil discoveries, Argentina has been an important regional oil and gas producer in Latin...