Argentina will open up it’s gas and oil-rich Vaca Muerta shale formation to major energy investors in an auction planned for next month – the country’s energy minister announced.
“For unconventionals, the players will be the majors,” Neuquen Energy Minister Guillermo Coco said in Houston on a road show to attract foreign capital. “Chevron, Exxon, Shell have shown interest in Vaca Muerta. They will compete for sure.”
Major global energy companies, if interested, would have to form joint ventures with Argentina’s Gas y Petroleo de Neuquen, with 50-90 percent stakes, depending on the block size and resources.
“We want to be the minority stakeholders in all the unconventional projects and also be an important stakeholder in conventional developments,” Coco added.
Despite opening Argentinian shale plays to international investors, the central government will still hold a firm grip on the exploration activities. Gas prices in Argentina are still controlled by the government and the crude produced in the new areas has to be sold to refineries in Argentina through individual supply contracts.
Earlier this month, Argentina agreed pay Repsol $5 billion in bonds as compensation for the nationalization of Argentine energy company YPF in a bid to attract foreign investors to the country.
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