Argentina’s YPF finds success with first Chubut shale well

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Argentinian state-controlled energy company YPF has made the first shale gas discovery in the province of Chubut, in the San Jorge basin, more than 1,000 km southeast of the Vaca Muerta mega shale field.

“The preliminary results are hopeful: daily production of 50 cubic meters of oil and water, and 12,000 cubic meters of gas,” the company said in a press release. “These figures, which add up to other results previously announced, are a milestone in YPF’s history and will allow to incorporate Chubut as another province with a lot of potential in unconventional hydrocarbons.”

YPF CEO Miguel Galuccio said that the company discovered 39 API gravity oil and natural gas with a caloric value of 11,000 kilocalorie per cubic metre, adding: “We have good pressure at the well and we are opening it by managing the pressure so it produces the highest amount of oil and gas possible. We don’t know the potential of the well yet, it’s just a small dot in a large map. This confirms the potential of non-conventional resources in the country.”

The well that produced these results was located at El Trébol field in the D-129 shale formation in Chubut. It was drilled to the depth of 3,591 metres using recycled rather than fresh water – a first for an exploration well in Argentina.

According to YPF, oil production in Chubut grew in the first quarter of the year 10 percent compared to the same period last year, the highest production values over the last 28 years.

“This is an amazing discovery not only because it widens the horizon in the province and the San Jorge basin but also because it increments the potential and the expectations of reaching energy sovereignty,” Governor Martín Buzzi said yesterday. “This basin has provided in the last 100 years 50 percent of the oil consumed by Argentina.”

In 2013 the Energy Information Agency estimated the amount of technically recoverable shale gas reserves in Argentina at 802 trillion cubic feet and 27 billion barrels of technically recoverable shale oil.

Earlier this month, Argentina announced it will open up it’s gas and oil-rich Vaca Muerta shale formation to major energy investors. Energy giants such as: Chevron, Exxon, and Royal Dutch Shell have already expressed their interest in the auction expected to be held in June 2014.

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