“Vaca Muerta’s impact is extraordinary”

Alongside his peers from the industry, Tecpetrol’s CEO Ricardo Markous, took part in the VI National Energy Forum and addressed senior business leaders.

The Group of Business Leaders of Argentina (Líderes Empresariales de Argentina – LIDE) held a forum on Thursday May 9 for the entire oil and gas industry to discuss the challenges and complexities facing the sector in the country.

Ricardo Markous opened the meeting, followed by other company heads such as Javier Martínez Álvarez, president of Tenaris Southern Cone, Alejandro Bulgheroni, president of Pan American Energy Group, and Horacio Marín, president and CEO of YPF, as well as other public and private-sector officials and authorities.

An attentive audience listening to our CEO.-

The Tecpetrol CEO kicked off by launching into a presentation of the crucially important role played by oil and gas in a world marked by challenges and opportunities where countries are experiencing a growing need for “energy security.” He referenced the main themes that came up repeatedly in the presentations given at the annual CERAWeek congress in Houston two months ago, such as the expectation that the energy transition will need longer lead times to consolidate, creating a context in which Argentina will acquire another dimension. “The country’s production window to develop the vast stock of resources lying in Vaca Muerta is now wider than imagined.”

"We projected that Argentine production would double by 2030, around 1.5 million barrels, half of this coming from Vaca Muerta, as this produces over 50% of the country's both oil and gas output, to which must be added the opportunity to export to neighboring countries. If the forecasts are right, we could be reaching the next decade with a trade balance of over USD 25 billion.”

“The impact of Vaca Muerta on this country is extraordinary. We are wondering whether this can be done. The first answer is always yes. The quality of the rock is outstanding. Compared with average wells in the United States, Vaca Muerta wells can produce more in two years than wells in the U.S. Permian Basin, for example. The case is similar with gas. Furthermore, Argentina has been able to take advantage of the North American experience, the leaders in fracking, over these years, to learn and shorten the learning curve. Today, we’re building wells in less than 20 days and have taken the number of fractures from 4 to 10.”

LIDE, the entire industry present at the same congress.-

This is a path that we are travelling alongside all the companies in the sector. “Now, to make the ramp-up happen more quickly, we must reinvest and also bring in capital from outside. Increasing oil production brings us up against a couple of barriers: the first is to build the pipelines, which will be done by private companies, meaning that we’ll then be able to export without any infrastructure limitations.” And what about gas? Gas is pure future. “In the ‘90s, we built gas pipelines to Chile: the Gas Andes, Northern, Atacama, Entre Ríos and the Brazil-Uruguayan pipelines. Thanks to Vaca Muerta, those gas pipelines are filling up again. When we’ve completed the Reversal of the Northern Gas Pipeline, we’ll be able to replace imports from Bolivia. We are working to export to Brazil. We have a key geopolitical role to play in South America and between 300 and 350 TCF (trillion cubic feet) of reserves, when Argentine annual consumption is 1.8 TCF per year. If you add exports to Chile and Brazil, this comes to 2.4 TCF. What can we do with that? Monetizing this is a project that will have to be developed in collaboration between companies in order to attract more reserves and foreign currency to the country.”

“We have everything in place: the need to increase production, extraordinary rock, the experience of the operating companies, and capacity. In Fortín de Piedra, Tecpetrol went from producing zero to 15 million cubic meters per day in one year. I don't know if this broke a world record but it was certainly something well out of the ordinary. Argentina has enough gas to export to neighboring countries and supply everyone’s needs. That makes me optimistic that the plane is going to take off, that the energy motors have already started spinning. It's not at its peak yet, but we’re working on it."

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