State oil companies YPF (Argentina) and Equinor (Norway; former Statoil) will invest about 117.7 million dollars over the next five years for a new pilot-stage project in Vaca Muerta. It will be in the northern and central areas of the current Bajo del Toro area, on which they received from the governor of Neuquén, Omar Gutiérrez, the unconventional exploitation concession number 42 in history, reported the Río Negro newspaper.

YPF’s investment, together with its partner, seeks to determine the oil and gas potential in this area of ​​the Neuquina Basin (near Rincón de los Sauces, in the north of the province, where it used to be exploited conventionally), through the drilling of 14 horizontal wells and the development of associated facilities such as an early production treatment plant (EPF) with the capacity to process 4,400 barrels of oil per day and 120,000 cubic meters of gas per day. In addition, both companies will contribute almost 3 million dollars in Corporate Social Responsibility.

In the event that the pilot in the Bajo del Toro Norte area shows positive results, both oil companies would consider advancing with the massive development of the area, with investments of more than 3,000 million dollars in wells and associated facilities to multiply production to 45,000 barrels. per day of oil, equivalent to about 8% of the current extraction nationwide.

“It is a very important milestone. Bajo del Toro is the asset that allowed Equinor to arrive in the country,” said Nidia Alvarez Crogh, Equinor’s country manager in Argentina.

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YPF CEO Sergio Affronti stressed that today “marks the beginning of a development within the Vaca Muerta oil window.”

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