HOUSTON, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- One of the more lucrative shale basins in the Americas, the Vaca Muerta play in Argentina, could double its output by 2018, analysis finds.
Vaca Muerta, located in Neuquen province, is considered one of the best shale basins in Latin America. Analysis emailed from Wood Mackenzie found parts of the basin are producing on average 646 barrels of oil equivalent per day, up 53 percent from last year.
Petronas, Mexican oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, known also as Pemex, and Argentine oil company YPF signed a trilateral memorandum of understanding on exploration and production in 2013. Russian energy companies have expressed interest in joining the venture.
The study from Wood Mackenzie finds production increases will be slow, but year-on-year expansion expected at around 10 percent through next year. Advances should accelerate by 2020.
At least 200 wells will come have come online by the end of the year. YPF and its joint venture partners, despite the expected increase, will need at least $1.2 billion for full development of the basin, Wood Mackenzie said.
According to Russian energy company Gazprom, Argentina produces around 1.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 223 million barrels of oil.