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ExxonMobil to proceed with Vaca Muerta Basin expansion project



ExxonMobil has announced that it will be proceeding with a long-term oil development in Argentina’s Bajo del Choique-La Invernada block. The project is expected to produce up to 55,000 oil-equivalent barrels per day within five years and will include 90 wells, a central production facility and export infrastructure connected to the Oldeval pipeline and refineries.
ExxonMobil proceeds with Argentina expansion project in Vaca Muerta Basin
(Image via ExxonMobil).

As has been widely speculated, Argentina’s Vaca Muerta shales hold significant promise, which is borne out in a statement from Exxon:

“We are encouraged by the excellent results of our Neuquen pilot project and look forward to increased production through this significant expansion,” said Staale Gjervik, senior vice president of unconventional at ExxonMobil. “The reforms implemented by the federal and provincial governments have been critically important to enabling the development of the Vaca Muerta basin as one of the country’s main energy resources.”

Should this expansion project prove successful, ExxonMobil has indicated that it could invest in a second phase, which would produce up to 75,000 oil-equivalent barrels per day. Timing of the second phase depends on initial project performance and business and market conditions, among other factors.

Daniel De Nigris, ExxonMobil’s lead country manager in Argentina said:

“ExxonMobil has been an active player in the Neuquen basin since 2010 and in Argentina for more than 100 years. We will continue to work closely with the government and our partners and will use our expertise and capabilities to bring jobs and other benefits to local communities.”
Drilling activity in the Vaca Muerta Basin in Argentina.
(Drilling activity in the Vaca Muerta Basin in Argentina. Image via ExxonMobil).

In 2015, the Neuguen provincial government granted ExxonMobil a 35-year concession in Vaca Muerta for the Bajo del Choique-La Invernada block. ExxonMobil began an exploration pilot program the following year and now has three producing wells, and three additional wells moving into production. A production facility, gas pipeline and oil terminal have been in operation since 2017 and were recently connected to the Pacific Gas pipeline by a 16-inch pipeline.

Bajo del Choique-La Invernada is a 99,000-acre block, located about 58 miles northwest of Anelo and 114 miles northwest of Neuquen city. ExxonMobil Exploration Argentina is operator and holds 90 percent interest in partnership with Gas y Petroleo del Neuquen, which holds 10 percent interest. ExxonMobil Exploration Argentina is leading its unconventional operations in the Neuquen basin under a joint venture agreement with Qatar Petroleum, which has 30 percent interest in ExxonMobil’s upstream affiliates in Argentina.

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ExxonMobil to proceed with Vaca Muerta Basin expansion project - Time to read 3 min
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