Statoil has joined the onshore exploration scene in Argentina, teaming up with YPF in search of hydrocarbons in Argentina’s Bajo del Toro Block in the Neuquén Basin.
The two companies signed a preliminary agreement Aug. 24 in which Statoil will enter the Bajo del Toro exploration permit as a partner with a 50% participating interest, Statoil said in a news release Aug. 25. YPF will serve as operator, holding the remaining interest.
“This is a light oil exploration project in a world-class unconventional resource play, the Vaca Muerta Formation,” Tim Dodson, Statoil’s executive vice president for exploration, said in the release. “The opportunity has an excellent fit with Statoil’s sharpened strategy, and is in line with our exploration strategy of delivering profitable, high-quality resources.”
As part of the agreement, Statoil shall recognize to YPF past cost incurred in the block and fund 100% of the cost of certain future activities in the block, according to the release.
The Bajo del Toro exploration permit covers an area of 157 sq km in the Neuquén Basin, where the Vaca Muerta Formation is main target, Statoil said. Final agreements, which must be approved by the Neuquén provincial authorities, are expected to be reached in the next few months.
“Bringing in a new international player like Statoil into the country shows confidence in Vaca Muerta as a promising shale play and in YPF as a leading operator. We are pleased to expand the cooperation between both companies,” YPF Chairman Miguel Angel Gutierrez said in the release.
This is not the first time the two companies have worked together. In 2016, Statoil signed a technical study agreement with YPF to map exploration opportunities offshore Argentina.