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Argentina’s second richest family, the Eurnekians, made their fortune from media and airports, but now plan to take advantage of the country’s undeveloped shale riches by becoming the governments first oil and gas partner.
Of the family’s $1.3 billion fortune, Eduardo Eurnekian has pledged $700 million over the past year to secure a partnership with YPF SA, and help develop the Vaca Muerta fields in Patagonia. In October Eduardo invested $500 million in YPF, then just last week another $200 million was paid in order to give the family an 81 percent stake in Cia. General Combustibles SA, an oil producer and part owner of pipelines used by YPF’s shale gas wells.
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With an estimated 23 billion barrels of oil equivalemt, the Vaca Muerta field is the largest in Latin America. Miguel Galuccio, the YPF CEO appointed by President Cristina Kirchner after she seized the company from Repsol last year, has said that they are looking for investors with deep pockets to help finance a $37 billion plan to develop the giant field. So far no prospective partners have signed any binding agreements with YPF, but the Eurnekians hope to be the first, beating the likes of Chevron Corp, whose hopes for partnership are being delayed by lawsuits.
Through Corporacion America the Eurnekians operate 49 airports around the world, produce wine, grain, and oil seed, and are in the process of constructing a $3 billion tunnel through the Andes to link Argentina and Peru. The shares in Cia. General de Combustibles mark the family’s first major step into oil and gas production.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com