Tecpetrol achieves shale gas production record of 24 million m3/day
With an accumulated investment of USD 3.5 billion to-date, gas production at Fortín de Piedra reached 32% of Vaca Muerta's total gas output this winter. During 2023, the field will export USD 100 million of gas, making a significant contribution to the country’s energy trade balance.
> PRODUCTION RECORD. Tecpetrol achieved a gas production level of 24 million m3/day (MMm3) at its Fortín de Piedra field on August 24, in Vaca Muerta, Neuquén. This is the highest injection rate in the reservoir’s history, as well as the highest production level ever recorded by all the different blocks in production in Vaca Muerta. The company has thus consolidated itself as the largest shale gas producer in the country, producing 18% of Argentina’s total output (including shale, tight and conventional gas) in winter.
> INVESTMENT. In order to reach these peak production levels, Tecpetrol has invested USD 3.5 billion since work began to develop the Fortín de Piedra field. Recently, it expanded the deposit’s processing capacity by building a new plant additional to the Central Processing Facility (CPF), which is contributing processing capacity of 3 MMm3/day.
> PLAN GAS. With this output level, the company has surpassed the commitments it assumed for Argentina’s Plan Gas.Ar to meet domestic demand, both for the summer period and during the winter. Tecpetrol is the company that was awarded the largest gas volume in the national Plan Gas V tender, key to filling the Nestor Kirchner Gas Pipeline (GPNK in Spanish) at competitive prices. In addition to expanding the volumes set by Plan Gas IV, Tecpetrol will be contributing 30% of the total volume tendered and awarded in Plan Gas V for the Neuquén Basin. And, if only peak gas is considered during the winter period, which is when imported LNG is replaced, the company will be making a total contribution of 43%. Tecpetrol has invested over USD 500 million over the last year to ensure it can meet the commitments it assumed in the tender.
These volumes are helping to fill the capacity of the GPNK, which is already operational, at competitive prices, creating significant savings in energy costs for the country by replacing LNG, diesel and fuel oil imports, which are more expensive.
> EXPORTS. Thanks to its share and fulfilment of the commitments assumed in the Gas Plan, Tecpetrol will during 2023 export an average of 1.1 MMm3/day of gas.
> ENERGY TRADE BALANCE. In 2022, the country had a negative energy trade balance of USD 4.5 billion. Current projections for Vaca Muerta output (oil and gas) envisage a positive balance of USD 17 billion by 2030, meaning that the trade balance will show an improvement of USD 22 billion dollars over the next seven or eight years.
> FORTÍN DE PIEDRA. The Fortín de Piedra unconventional gas field was built in just 18 months (construction began in April 2017). The project involved over 1,000 SME suppliers and 4,500 workers at the peak of work, and a total of 275 km of pipelines were laid.
The swift and successful development of Fortín de Piedra has emphasized the critically important role played by Vaca Muerta gas, creating the opportunity and need to increase transport capacity. Today, both of these have been met, thanks to the GPNK (whose first stage is complete) and the work beginning to reverse the northern hydrocarbons transport system.