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U.S. explorer takes to Latin shale

HOUSTON, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Increased gas production through shale gas reserves in Argentina would ease foreign dependency and bring economic gains, an energy company said.

Texas energy company Apache welcomed an initiative that would let producers sign contracts at higher prices to encourage the exploitation of alternative resources like natural gas locked in shale deposits.

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Jon Graham, vice president of Argentine developments for Apache, said the benefits for the country were two-fold.

"Increasing domestic production would be positive for Argentina on two levels -- increased economic activity and reduced reliance on imported natural gas," he said in a statement.

Apache added that it was the first company to take advantage of the deals, which it said would give it access to shale gas deposits similar to those found in North America.

Though North American shale deposits are considered some of the largest in the world, Graham said it was still too early to make official assessments on Argentine deposits.

"It's very premature to quote recoverable reserve estimates," he said. "Apache will continue investing to prove up the economic viability of these formations."

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