Royal Dutch Shell and Argentina Come Together on Vaca Muerta
Just five months ago, Royal Dutch Shell announced plans to invest roughly $300 million each year until 2020 in the country of Argentina. In late February, one fact of the 2017 investment was noted with the announcement that Shell an Argentinian energy company, Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales (YPF), will work together in the development of the country’s Vaca Muerta field.
Vaca Muerta exploration is expected to cost $1 billion alone over a 20-year span through 2035, with the reserves spread out over four of the country’s provinces: La Pampa, Mendoza, Neuquén, and Rio Negro. The quality of the commodity has been compare to that of the Permian Basin, while the scope of the project is considered larger than the Eagle Ford shale project.
That investment is just a small portion of what might be needed to fully exploit the deposits underneath. One estimate indicated that an eventual $200 billion investment may be a requirement.
That’s one reason why Shell isn’t the only oil giant involved here, with companies like Gazprom and Sinopec also making their own investments. Royal Dutch Shell’s investment will allow it to compete with Chevron, which has been in the country since 2013.
One reasons that YPF is the company connected with Royal Dutch Shell is that was recently nationalized by Argentina’s leaders in order to stimulate investments in projects like Vaca Muerta. Over the past decade, the country has suffered through economic troubles, with drops in the oil market not helping any comeback attempts.
Royal Dutch Shell is making greater inroads in the shale market since purchasing BG Group last year. This investment will allow them to be a part of a field that could potentially deliver 16 billion barrels of oil and 308 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.