Vaca Muerta news

McClendon, YPF in $500-million Vaca Muerta venture

Martín I. Rousseaux

BUENOS AIRES -- Aubrey McClendon, CEO of American Energy Partners, LP (AELP), and Miguel Galuccio, president and CEO of YPF, have signed initial agreements for the exploration and development of the Vaca Muerta formation in Argentina’s Neuquén basin.

The CEOs jointly visited Juan José Aranguren, Argentina's Minister of Energy, to present details of the shale oil and gas projects that both companies plan to execute, which entail investments of more than $500 million over the next three years, and to introduce AELP.

One project consists of launching a shale oil and gas development pilot in the Bajada de Añelo Block, covering approximately 200 km2 (55,500 acres). After this first stage is completed by mid-2018, the project would enter into the full field development phase in “U.S. style shale manufacturing” mode. In addition, YPF and an affiliate of AELP, in partnership with Pluspetrol and Gas y Petróleo de Neuquén, will launch a second project to delineate shale gas resources in the southern portion of the Cerro Arena Block, covering approximately 375 km2 (92,600 acres).

Under these agreements, an affiliate of AELP would earn up to 50% participating interest in the blocks. Thus, YPF incorporates a new strategic partner to accelerate the development of the Vaca Muerta shale.

AELP, an oil and gas asset management platform and operator with a management team that has drilled more than 15,000 horizontal shale wells throughout the U.S., is led by former Chesapeake Energy Corp. co-founder and CEO McClendon.

“YPF is welcoming a partner that will contribute expertise of the highest level to develop shale oil and gas in our country. We believe that this partnership will be very enriching for our company by allowing YPF to accelerate the learning curve,” said Galuccio after the signing.    

“We are thrilled and very honored with the opportunity to partner with YPF in Argentina to further develop the Vaca Muerta shale formation, a world-class unconventional play with tremendous potential. Through our partnership with YPF, we intend to bring U.S. style shale drilling and operating expertise, completiontechniques and cost structure to the Vaca Muerta, which we believe will prove transformative for the play,” stated McClendon.

The agreements were signed by McClendon and Galuccio at YPF’s headquarters in Buenos Aires. During the next three months, the companies will negotiate the definitive agreements with the purpose of initiating joint operations in Bajada de Añelo and Cerro Arena Sur during 2016.

photo VARSTAT oil pumps