Vaca Muerta in Argentina

YPF, partners to invest in Vaca Muerta

BUENOS AIRES, July 19, 2017 – YPF, Total, Wintershall Energía and Pan American Energy will together invest USD 1.15 billion in the Aguada Pichana block located in Argentina’s unconventional Vaca Muerta formation, Argentina’s NOC announced Tuesday.

The companies are committed to boosting the block’s shale gas output from 2.2 mcm (77.7 mcf) per day to 4.5 mcm (159 mcf) per day by December 2021.


The Neuquén provincial government has recently approved the redefinition of Aguada Pichana’s boundaries following a request made by the companies in March. The concession area will be divided into eastern and western sections operated by Total and Pan American Energy, respectively.

The eastern part will undergo a work programme that includes the drilling of 48 horizontal wells, while the western section will be combined with the Aguada de Castro area and see 24 horizontal wells drilled.

This is the first major Vaca Muerta investment announced in H2 2017. The first half of the year saw several individual and joint venture commitments, with Tecpetrol alone allocating a whopping USD 2.3 billion towards developing its Fortin de Piedra asset.

The various investment commitments that Vaca Muerta has garnered so far in 2017 have been largely driven by a federal programme announced in March that sets a floor for wellhead gas prices in unconventional areas. The subsidised price will decrease by USD 0.50 each year until it reaches USD 6 per million Btu in 2020.

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