Argentina’s state oil and gas operator YPF will focus its efforts on bringing crude oil and natural gas exports from the Vaca Muerta shale formation to as high a level as they can reach, according to a senior company executive.
“Considering Argentina’s consumption is expected at 1.5 tcf/year, we would have reserves for 200 years,” said Ariel Andreucci, YPF head of strategy and investments at an industry event, as quoted by ICIS.
“This would allow us to sell to overseas markets around 3 tcf/year in decades to come. It is a great opportunity for YPF but also for Argentina’s economy.”
Andreucci also acknowledged an opportunity in petrochemicals, noting that demand for petrochemicals is likely to stick around beyond 2050.
Exports, however, are not going to start at a full scale any time soon. Developing the Vaca Muerta reserves is challenging for YPF for financial reasons, Andreucci admitted, noting this would mean the company had to use its own cash flow to finance development.
“Monetisation is always done at scale. First, you find the resources and make them available for export. At YPF, we also have some added problems to get credit for projects, so we must use our own cashflow to finance new projects,” he said.
The Vaca Muerta formation is estimated to hold the world’s second-largest shale oil and gas reserves, containing an estimated 16 billion barrels of oil and 308 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Earlier this month, Norway’s Rystad Energy estimated that oil production from the play could hit 1 million barrels daily in the coming years. For context, as of February this year, the Vaca Muerta was producing some 291,000 barrels of crude daily.
YPF specifically said earlier this year it planned to double its output from the Vaca Muerta formation over the next five years and increase natural gas production by 30%. As of the end of 2022, YPF was producing just over 230,000 bpd of crude oil.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com