Boom or bust – The Argentinean Question.
Vaca Muerta is one of the true big beasts of the shale gas world. It is a development that could convert Argentina from a nation which needs the international credit markets to pay for its energy imports, to one on its way to achieving energy independence. The strength of investment in Vaca Muerta suggests that, even with the depressed energy prices of 2015, Vaca Muerta will continue to be developed. However if one were to look back to 2012 Repsol executives would have been bullish about their prospects in Vaca Muerta. Those feelings have since been quashed.
Overview of Vaca Muerta
Argentina was one of the quickest up-takers of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing drilling. More than 300 wells have been drilled between 2013 and 2015 in Argentina. Indeed, for unconventional shale reserves, it was one of only four countries which actually produced shale gas in 2014. The other three were the USA, Canada and China (as reported by the EIA).
There are considered to be four main basins in Argentina: Neuquen, Golfo San Jorge, Austral and Paraná. The Neuquen is considered to be the most advanced, within it, the late Jurassic to early cretaceous shale form Vaca Muerta (see Figure 1 for more information).
Vaca Muerta is a geographical feature that covers more than 30,000 Km2 and contains oil and gas at a depth of more than 2,500m.
The full article, along with all maps and graphs, is available in Issue 1 of Shale Gas International Magazine and can be found on page 31.