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YPF Seeks to Quadruple Its Value by Boosting Vaca Muerta Shale

Argentina’s oil and gas firm YPF SA targets to boost its market capitalization fourfold over the next four years, betting on growing its production from the key Vaca Muerta shale play, Reuters reports, citing a source at the Argentinian state company.

Vaca Muerta—Spanish for ‘dead cow’—has been dubbed the Argentinian Permian, although its geologic properties have been compared more appropriately to the Eagle Ford.

The Vaca Muerta shale play is estimated to hold recoverable resources consisting of 16 billion barrels of oil and 308 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Those numbers make the Vaca Muerta the world’s second-largest shale gas deposit.  

YPF wants to capitalize on the rise in output at Vaca Muerta and eventually trim down its portfolio of conventional oil and gas assets, according to the Reuters source, who participates in decision-making at the Argentinian state energy company.

“In the medium term, we’re going to focus on the divestment of conventional assets,” the source told Reuters.

Vaca Muerta posted record oil and gas production last year, reaching 354,156 barrels per day (bpd) of output in October, and then breaking that record in December when production exceeded 380,000 barrels per day.

Higher natural gas output from Vaca Muerta could allow Argentina to export natural gas.

In July last year, Argentina inaugurated a natural gas pipeline from Vaca Muerta to a town in the Buenos Aires province, as part of its efforts to become energy independent and stop paying billions of dollars for LNG imports.

The pipeline will supply industrial and household gas demand at competitive prices while saving Argentina $4.2 billion worth of gas import bills per year, former president Alberto Fernández said at the time.

Argentina’s new president, Javier Milei, is said to have been forced to make concessions in his radical market reform package, shelving plans to privatize YPF, Bloomberg reported last month.  

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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