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E & P News

2017

Aug 2017: GeoPark (operator, 50%) and Wintershall (50%) announced the Rio Grande Oeste-1 light oil discovery in the CN-V block in the Neuquen basin, Mendoza Province. The partners are evaluating subsequent activities, including a development plan for the field next to the producing Loma Alta Sur oil field operated by YPF. The CN-V block also has potential in the Vaca Muerta.

Feb 2017: Shell and YPF have signed a 50/50 agreement to develop a shale gas pilot project in the Vaca Muerta with an investment of US$300 mm in Bajada de Añelo northeast of Loma Campana. It is a region that has both shale oil and shale gas resources.

2016

Aug 2016: In 2 years tight gas production has almost tripled in the Neuquen basin but there is a lot of variability in well performance and economics of the tight gas formations. Longer laterals, more fracture stages and increased water and proppant use all enhance production but also increase costs.

Jul 2016: Pan American (BP) is planning to invest US$1.4 bn in 4 basins including the Cerro Dragon oil field and in shale oil and gas in the province of Neuquen which it started exploring in 2011.

Feb 2016: Total (operator, 37.5%) commenced production from the offshore Vega Pleyade gas and condensate field in Tierra del Fuego. The development consists of a wellhead platform in a water depth of 50m tied back to onshore treatment facilities. Wintershall (37.5%) and Pan American (25%) are partners. It  is the world's southern-most gas development.

2015

Nov 2015: Production from the Vaca Muerta shale will grow slowly up to 2017 followed by more rapid growth to 2020 as more productive horizontal wells target the best intervals. There are now around 460 producing wells.

May 2015: YPF has discovered a conventional oil field in Rio Negro province . The Manzano Grande x-1 well is the company's second discovery in the Los Caldenes block.

Apr 2015: Shale oil output from the Vaca Muerta formation has increased but profitability is marginal. The Loma Campana field, developed by YPF and Chevron, is producing  nearly 45,000 bbls per day accounting for nearly all production.

Jan 2015: Crown Point (25.78%) has announced preliminary results for the second of two exploration wells at its Tierra del Fuego (TDF) concessions.  Puesto Quince (PQ) x-1001 is near gas and oil processing facilities at Rio Chico. Fracture stimulation will be required. The first well, San Luis (SL) x-1003, is now producing into the San Luis gas plant.

2014

May 2014: ExxonMobil Corp has discovered oil and gas in an unconventional shale well in the Vaca Muerta play of Neuquen Province. The Bajo del Choique X-2 horizontal well flowed at an average rate of 770 bbls of oil a day. ExxonMobil is operator (85%) in partnership with Gas y Petroleo del Neuquen (15%).

2013

Oct 2013: Total (operator, 37.5%) and partners Wintershall (37.5%) and Pan American (25%) are investing US$850mm to develop the Vega Pleyade gas field in the South Atlantic 70 kms off Tierra del Fuego in the Cuenca Marina Austral 1 permit. The field may start producing in early 2016 from a platform and 3 wells into a pipeline to onshore gas treatment facilities at Rio Cullen.

Sep 2013: Neuquen province will auction international rights to tap 500 sq kms of the Vaca Muerta shale formation in March 2014 after firms that won concession rights in 2008 failed to follow through with investments. YPF operates another 3 mm acres and has estimated that the formation contains 661 bn bbls of oil and 33 tcm of gas.

Sep 2013: Chevron is optimistic it will move into a second phase of investment in shale oil and gas from the Vaca Muerta. The first phase includes plans to drill over 100 wells in 2014 with a second phase requiring 1,500 wells. The hope is to raise production to 50,000 bbls per day and 1 bcm of gas per year.

Jul 2013: The Vaca Muerta shale oil and gas basin has 661 bn bbls of oil and 33 tcm of natural gas resources, according to YPF (Gs notes: these numbers must be highly speculative and have few economic connotations - it is the rate at which oil and gas can be recovered and the number of wells required that matter). Along with YPF, companies with interests in the Vaca Muerta, one of the largest shale plays in the world, include Chevron, Apache, ExxonMobil, Petrogas,  Total, Canada's Madalena Ventures and Azabache, Shell, Petrobras, Tecpetrol, and Pan American Energy, controlled by BP.

Mar 2013: YPF announced that high costs will lead to a scaling back of its shale oil drilling program. It aimed to drill 132 oil wells at the Vaca Muerta formation in Patagonia but may only manage half this figure. Vaca Muerta (Dead Cow) holds one of the world's biggest deposits of shale resources and YPF has concessions on 40%. It is trying to partner Chevron to raise capital but negotiations are slow due to a court freeze on Chevron’s assets in Argentina over a pollution case in Ecuador. Argentina is virtually shut out of global debt markets 10 years after the biggest sovereign default in history.

Feb 2013: Americas Petrogas has made a new shale oil discovery on its Totoral Block in the SW region of the Neuquen basin. LHo.x-1 well produced from the Vaca Muerta shale in the Picun Leufu sub-basin extending over the company’s Totoral, Yerba Buena and Bajada Colorada blocks. The well was drilled to 1900m in 2012 and after stimulation produced around 40 bbls per day of light oil. Americas Petrogas operates the 3 blocks with 90%, partnered with Gas y Petroleo del Neuquen (10% ).

Feb 2013: Total and Wintershall will each invest $1 bn over the next 5 years to increase gas production by an estimated 4.4 bcm each year. Oil and gas production is currently declining while has demand soared. In 2012 the government nationalised a controlling stake in YPF from Repsol accusing the company of failing to invest.

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