• 393 days Will The ECB Continue To Hike Rates?
  • 394 days Forbes: Aramco Remains Largest Company In The Middle East
  • 395 days Caltech Scientists Succesfully Beam Back Solar Power From Space
  • 795 days Could Crypto Overtake Traditional Investment?
  • 800 days Americans Still Quitting Jobs At Record Pace
  • 802 days FinTech Startups Tapping VC Money for ‘Immigrant Banking’
  • 805 days Is The Dollar Too Strong?
  • 805 days Big Tech Disappoints Investors on Earnings Calls
  • 806 days Fear And Celebration On Twitter as Musk Takes The Reins
  • 808 days China Is Quietly Trying To Distance Itself From Russia
  • 808 days Tech and Internet Giants’ Earnings In Focus After Netflix’s Stinker
  • 812 days Crypto Investors Won Big In 2021
  • 812 days The ‘Metaverse’ Economy Could be Worth $13 Trillion By 2030
  • 813 days Food Prices Are Skyrocketing As Putin’s War Persists
  • 815 days Pentagon Resignations Illustrate Our ‘Commercial’ Defense Dilemma
  • 816 days US Banks Shrug off Nearly $15 Billion In Russian Write-Offs
  • 819 days Cannabis Stocks in Holding Pattern Despite Positive Momentum
  • 820 days Is Musk A Bastion Of Free Speech Or Will His Absolutist Stance Backfire?
  • 820 days Two ETFs That Could Hedge Against Extreme Market Volatility
  • 822 days Are NFTs About To Take Over Gaming?
Is The Bull Market On Its Last Legs?

Is The Bull Market On Its Last Legs?

This aging bull market may…

What's Behind The Global EV Sales Slowdown?

What's Behind The Global EV Sales Slowdown?

An economic slowdown in many…

Another Retail Giant Bites The Dust

Another Retail Giant Bites The Dust

Forever 21 filed for Chapter…

Oilprice.com

Oilprice.com

Writer, OilPrice.com

Information/Articles and Prices on a wide range of commodities: We have assembled a team of experienced writers to provide you with information on Crude Oil,…

Contact Author

  1. Home
  2. Markets
  3. Other

Can Argentina Capitalize On Its Vast Shale Reserves?

Argentina, once a regional energy leader, is now better known for financial busts and bombastic politicians than hydrocarbons prospects. Still, with a resource potential both vast and untapped, the nation has never been far from energy investors' minds. The question today is just how much Argentina is willing to change and how this plays into a low oil price environment that is already negatively impacting investment elsewhere.

Argentina's deliberate efforts to appease some of its international creditors, combined with an overhaul of the nation's hydrocarbons framework have the potential to lure foreign investors back. The promise of a change of government - and potentially a more market-friendly approach - later this year should add to the country's appeal.

Experts have kept a watchful eye on Argentina ever since the US Energy Information Administration identified the nation as holding the world's second largest shale gas and fourth largest shale oil reserves. This translates to an estimated 802 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable shale gas and 27 billion barrels of oil.

Yet unlike the production boom unleashed by the shale revolution in the United States, Argentina's vast shale plays have remained comparatively idle.

Politics and economics are largely to blame.

Investor confidence in Argentina has been damaged by heavy-handed nationalist politics, including the nationalization of oil company YPF in 2012. Price caps and export restrictions have added to what many view as a trying business environment.

Exploration and production in Argentina is also expensive. It costs an estimated $11 million per well in Argentina, a figure YPF hopes to bring more into line with international standards of $7 million by the end of the year. Whether this target is feasible remains to be seen.

But in the nation famous for the Albicelestes, things are starting to change. Argentina is making efforts to improve relations with international creditors and agreed to a $5 billion settlement with Spanish company Repsol as compensation for its YPF stake.

Meanwhile, exploration and production in the unconventional fields is slowly picking up. Argentina is one of just four countries to produce commercial quantities of shale oil or gas - joining the US, Canada, and China - and is the only producer in Latin America. Most of this production has come from the Vaca Muerta formation in west-central Argentina.

Argentina's shale fields are currently producing 41,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from 320 wells. These are important milestones for the nation's oil and gas industry and YPF expects both figures to increase in 2015.

Foreign investors are also trickling back to Argentina. Chevron was the first oil major to take the plunge with a deal worth a potential $15 billion. YPF has also received commitments from DOW Chemical for a potential $188 million and Petronas for a potential $9 billion, both in Vaca Muerta. YPF has also signed preliminary deals with Wintershall and Sinopec.

The Argentine government hopes the overhaul of the national hydrocarbons law will further spur investor activity. Many of the benefits included in Chevron's deal have been carried over, including the ability to export up to 20% of production free of tariffs or sold domestically at international prices. The legislation also caps royalties for oil-producing provinces at 12% and centralizes the bidding process.

Replicating the United States' success was always going to be a tall order. The unique set of factors, including easy access to financial and human capital, technology, know-how and a favorable regulatory and business environment - are not easily reproduced in Argentina or elsewhere.

Argentina is instead seeking to adapt US technology and innovation to increase efficiency and productivity in existing and new wells, with a focus on large-scale drilling and cost reduction.

As for the low price environment, Argentina's subsidized domestic market will shield producers in the short term. Oil prices are set at $77.50 per barrel and natural gas as $7.5 per million British thermal units (MMBtu). Of course, this provides no such protection for exporters.

A new administration will need to address the issues of subsidies as well as boost local production in order to reduce the energy trade deficit that is costing Argentina's government an estimated $6 - 8 billion per year.

In the meantime, excitement around Argentina's energy prospects is welcome and while investors are wise to remain cautious, there are positive signs that the nation's energy ambitions are within reach.

 


Source: http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Can-Argentina-Capitalize-On-Its-Vast-Shale-Reserves.html

By Alexis Arthur for Oilprice.com

 

Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment