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Chevron, YPF sign to develop Vaca Muerta Shale; initial outlays of $1.2B

A subsidiary of Chevron Corporation signed an agreement with affiliates of the Argentine oil company YPF S.A. that furthers the development of shale oil and gas resources from the Vaca Muerta formation located in the Neuquén province. (Earlier post.) The agreement calls for initial outlays of approximately $1.24 billion to enable the first phase of development in the Loma La Lata Norte and Loma Campaña areas.

The initial program will include the drilling of 100 wells in a 5,000-acre tract, part of a 96,000-acre concession.

The Loma La Lata field is currently producing more than 10,000 barrels of oil-equivalent per day. Chevron Argentina currently produces an average of 21,000 barrels of crude oil and 4 million cubic feet of natural gas in the Neuquén Basin, where it holds operated interests ranging from 18.8 to 100%.

In December 2012, YPF and Bridas, an Argentina-based oil and gas company 50% owned by China National Offshore Oil Corporation, also agreed to invest $1.5 billion over the next 24 months to begin development in the shale oil deposits in the region. (Earlier post.)

Vaca Muerta is present in an area of 30,000 km2 (7.4 million acres); of this area, YPF participates in 12,000 km2 (3.0 million acres, or 40% of the total. The estimated size of recoverable shale oil in the formation has increased to about 741 million barrels, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

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