"Vaca Muerta is competitive, it is not expensive or unfeasible, quite the opposite" says an industry leader. This is how it responds almost a decade later to the unfulfilled prophecies of the most traditional sectors of the industry before the discovery of the shale reserve in the Nuequina Basin.
The testimony has evidences. Vista Oil, for example, reported record profits for its short history. It reached a total production of 39.9 barrels of oil per day during the second quarter of the year, an increase of 67 percent over the same period last year. Earnings recorded $35 million and lowered the cost of production to $7.3 per barrel, 15 percent less than the same period last year, and in the strip where the legendary Eagle Ford field in Texas is located.
The cost of production of the barrel of Shale in Eagle Ford is around U$ 3. In Vaca Muerta, the combined shale and traditional costs U$ 7.5, which yields for the unconventional values similar to that of its Texan twin.
With the results of the second quarter, the company founded by Miguel Galuccio announced an increase in investments in the order of U$ 310 million for the 2021 period. Thus, the company born in 2018 has managed three years later to become the second largest shale operator nationwide.
According to specialized consulting firm GyG, Vaca Muerta is going through a strong and constant increase in production in the Neuquen basin based entirely on shale. The Production of crude oil, condensate and gasoline increased by 8.7% in April, and by 12.6% year-on-year in May.
This is a process in which state interference does not appear to disrupt the development of the sector.
In Argentina, the current price of the barrel is twenty dollars lower than its international price. The reference price for Brent oil is just above U$ 75, while in Argentina it is traded at U$ 55.
Considered a commodity, the local price of a barrel of crude oil is tied to the ups and downs of international prices. That is why the support price imposed by the National Government by decree aims to protect the profitability of companies and the revenues of the provincial states when there is a significant reduction in values, such as in 2020, and conversely, avoids significant increases at the pump when international prices start to escalate.
"Even though it trades below the international price, it is still profitable," an oil executive told LPO. "Because with Vaca Muerta, we supply local demand and generate export profit that covers those losses," he added.
In fact, In August, three ships are expected to leave the site loaded with 'medanito', the name that bears the type of oil that is extracted from Vaca Muerta.
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