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Exxon Mulls Sale of Vaca Muerta Shale Assets

ExxonMobil is considering a sale of its Vaca Muerta shale assets in Patagonia and has received several offers of holding already, anonymous Bloomberg sources revealed on Friday.

The U.S. oil giant’s assets that will be sold include assets owned as part of a joint venture with QatarEnergy, including seven oil and gas blocks in the Vaca Muerta and holdings in a pipeline. The assets are estimated to be valued at $1 billion, the sources suggested.

Argentina’s Vaca Muerta shale formation has been behind a significant increase in oil and natural gas production in the country, and foreign investments into the Vaca Muerta have helped to grow the economic potential of the region—and oil and gas contribute handsomely to the country’s GDP.

Nevertheless, Argentina is in the middle of a financial crisis—a fact that could be at least partially behind Exxon’s search for the exit.

But last August, ExxonMobil put all of its oil and gas operations and interests in seven unconventional areas in Argentina’s Neuquen basin under review. At the time, Exxon said it was looking for farm-in investors, but didn’t rule out asset sales. “It is still premature to determine the final outcome of the ongoing review process, which runs parallel to our development commitments in the basin. It may not necessarily result in asset divestment,” an ExxonMobil source told Oil&Gas Journal.

ExxonMobil has drilled at least 40 wells in the Neuquen, but only 7 are producing—the rest are DUCs.

Exxon’s production from the basin is 7,300 bpd of crude oil and 103 Mcfd of shale gas.

Argentine libertarian President Javier Milei is spearheading a country-wide shakeup that could have ramifications for the oil and gas industry from an omnibus reform package that he sent in January that proposed the privatization of 41 state-owned companies, including its national oil firm, YPF, and Energia Argentina.

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By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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