Ricardo presents Ricardo
Although the talk given by Ricardo Markous was basically about presenting Ricardo Ferreiro as the new President of E&P, the words spoken by the CEO in Neuquén were, as always, about the future.
“We are living through a time of change, which is not just affecting us at country level: Horacio Marín has left to take the helm of YPF. We are obviously extremely proud that someone trained at Tecpetrol has been chosen for this task, and Matías Farina has also left us to go with him, but we will always have a strong team here,” began Markous. Flanked by Ricardo Ferreiro and Martín Bengochea, Vice President of the Neuquén Basin & Vaca Muerta, Markous gave his habitual virtual talk from the corporate offices in Neuquén.
The best is always yet to come, he said, glancing over at his namesake: “Ricardo Ferreiro is the new President of E&P at Tecpetrol. We’ve known each other for twenty years, when Ricardo joined us to manage a project in Peru. I have absolute confidence in his style. Ricardo understands all aspects of the commercial side of things: whether there is a lack or an excess of gas. I felt it was key to be by his side at this introduction."
“I want to thank you all,” continued Markous, explaining that, “it’s been a difficult and challenging year for us at Neuquén, but nonetheless, we managed to reach the production record of 24 million cubic meters per day. We achieved the Joule-Thomson effect, we achieved the gas pipeline, and I know that your work, under the current conditions, has been tough. I also want to talk about a big win for Tecpetrol at country level, supported by what’s been done in Fortín de Piedra: for the first time in our history, the Argentine Institute of Petroleum and Gas (IAPG) presented its safety award to our own HSE (Health, Safety, and Environment) department. This is a collective achievement, all due to the way you work.”
“We’ve had excellent results in Los Toldos II, which gives us the base for developing Los Toldos II Este (with excellent prospects of 70,000 barrels). In Rincón de Los Sauces, we’re looking to build new infrastructure and are currently working towards this. We also have the green light to start work at Sitio Parada as well as Los Toldos I Norte. Regarding the energy transition, as we think about the future, in two years we expect to be processing 4,000 tons of lithium carbonate. The Gas Plan has also been a great success because we’ve guaranteed supply until 2028.”
Markous gave the floor to Ferreiro, who continued to tick off milestones: “We have a butane and propane extraction project with the potential to expand to ethanol with a treatment plant in Tratayén and a multi-fluids pipeline to Bahía Blanca. As for liquefied natural gas, we are making progress with engineering: this is a complex process, but we have a lot of interest in this technology and we’re talking to specialists in this area as we wait for the law and other projects.”
Markous added that, “I always say that Tecpetrol is different from other oil companies. We are in Latam, and we have many engines enabling us to finance projects: in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Mexico, which are producing significant results.”
Martín Bengochea took the floor to explain what was happening in the Neuquén Basin: “We’re expecting negotiations to begin in Río Negro to extend the tenders, as they’re all due to expire, and we have to wait for Alberto Weretilneck to take office as governor. In Neuquén, the elected governor Rolando Figueroa has said that there is a bill for conventional hydrocarbons. It’s a challenge for all basins. In Agua Salada, we’re reviewing our portfolio and also some marginal potential in Vaca Muerta.”
As the talk drew to an end, the three executives agreed on their view of the future. “We have to develop Vaca Muerta not only for Tecpetrol but also for the country, because its impact is incredible. There is a study that predicts that its development will allow us to reach a positive trade balance—a second source of income for the country, that doesn’t depend on rain—with investments in the order of 15 billion dollars per year, between drilling and completion.
“The macroeconomic side of things has to be properly ordered,” concluded Markous, “but if you ask me, the expectation is that this will turn out well and that a new Argentina will start to take shape.”