U.S. oil major ExxonMobil Corp. plans to invest $200 million to boost natural gas output in Argentina’s Vaca Muerta shale play, a spokeswoman told Reuters on Sept. 1.
The company has asked the government of Neuquen province for a 35-year unconventional production concession in the Los Toldos I Sur Block, the spokeswoman said. CEO Darren Woods informed President Mauricio Macri of the plans during an Aug. 31 meeting at the presidential Pink House.
Attracting investment to the Belgium-sized Vaca Muerta play, one of the world’s largest unconventional gas reserves, is a key priority for Macri’s business-friendly administration as it seeks to boost local energy production in order to reduce costly imports.
In 2016, ExxonMobil said it could invest more than $10 billion in shale projects over 20 to 30 years in the region. In January, Macri reached a deal with unions and companies to lower very high labor costs and attract investment, though executives note that logistics costs remain high.
ExxonMobil’s Argentine subsidiary owns 80% of the Los Toldos I Sur Block and is the operator, while Argentine oil company Tecpetrol SA and province-owned Gas y Petroleo de Neuquen each control 10%.