Argentina resuscitates Vaca Muerta
Argentine authorities have drafted a new plan to invigorate the gas sector, calling for $5 billion in investments over the next three years to develop the vast shale deposit area of Vaca Muerta (Dead Cow in Spanish).

Shale and gas extraction in Argentina is a relatively recent development – and the country remains a heavy importer of gas. Authorities believe that reviving Vaca Muerta will lead to big reductions in gas imports, boost tax revenues by $2.5 billion and provide jobs for residents of the area.

Service companies have begun returning after a long period of inactivity and uncertainty in the basin. The national company YPF, which halted work in Vaca Muerta in March, has announced it will be bringing three drilling units to the region to boost the project.

YPF is to invest $1.8 billion in shale production over the next three years.

Gas production in Argentina dipped this year after increasing between 2015 and 2019 to 49.35 billion cubic metres from 42.9 billion. In 2018, the country began exporting gas to nearby countries and in 2019 it contracted a vessel for LNG production.

Vaca Muerta holds the largest reserves of shale gas in the world. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, they amount to 308 trillion cu. ft. (8.7 trillion cu.m.) as well as 16.2 billion barrels of oil — on the basis of work carried out on a mere 4 % of the region’s territory.

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