YPF and Russia’s powerful Gazprom International have signed a deal that will give Gazprom access to the shale oil and gas-rich Vaca Muerta fields of Patagonian province Neuquén. The memorandum of cooperation was signed yesterday in Moscow by Alexey Miller, chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, and Miguel Galuccio, chief executive officer of Argentina’s national oil company YPF.
The document – signed in the presence of Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, president of the Republic of Argentina – stipulates the main areas of the future bilateral cooperation, including exploration, production and transmission of hydrocarbons in Argentina and third countries.
YPF, the largest energy company in Argentina, has long been looking for partners who would help it explore the rich shale formations in Chubut and Vaca Muerta in the Neuquen region. Back in January this year, YPF signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese giant Sinopec which confirmed the two companies’ intention to form a join venture “that will cover different market segments, upstream and potentially downstream.” The agreement covered both conventional and unconventional exploration projects in Argentina.
Vaca Muerta Formation is estimated to contain at least 23 billion barrels of oil. Argentina’s proven gas reserves amount to 300 billion cubic meters and 300 million tons of oil, but Argentinian companies lack the technology and the know-how to fully capitalise on these deposits.
Gazprom declared interest in the Vaca Muerta and Chubut regions back in October 2014, when a Russian delegation travelled to Argentina to hold talks with the Ministry of Industry of Argentina, and YPF about a preliminary exploration agreement.
Also, in 2013 Gazprom won an international tender for the supply of 15 LNG cargoes with a total volume of one million tons from Gazprom’s portfolio to Argentina between 2014 and 2015.
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