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Analysis

Exploration and production snapshots: Argentina

Clearing a path for growth

In the wake of a decade-long slump in Argentina’s oil and gas industry, the country is now well positioned to resurrect international investment and exploit its world-class resources to their full potential. With the support of a new pro-business government and the discovery of massive shale potential in the Vaca Muerta basin, the road to revitalizing Argentina’s natural gas-based economy is clear: attract skilled workers, upgrade its infrastructure, and adopt new technologies to spark the first shale revolution outside of North America.

Americas exploration and production (E&P) snapshots

In this series, Americas E&P Snapshots, Deloitte profiles the region’s major countries, their hydrocarbon endowments, the historical context of the industry in each country, and the new opportunities that seem to be taking shape. Each country report concludes with considerations for the future and an assessment of the country’s attractiveness for new investment in the E&P sector.

The series includes profiles of the following countries:
 

How we got here: Highlights from historical oil and gas development

Over the past decade, the oil and gas industry globally has had to cope with changing and highly uncertain market conditions. Oil prices exceeded $140 per barrel in 2008 and remained well above $100 for most of 2011 through 2014,1 which encouraged massive investment to develop new production in a few regions such as North America, the Middle East, and Russia.

While high prices spurred unconventional oil and gas investment in North America, the global picture was more mixed. In particular, Latin American countries had flat to lower production and increased petroleum imports—all despite the region having hydrocarbon resources, such as the Brazilian pre-salt, Venezuelan heavy oils, and Argentina’s Vaca Muerta shale resources found in the Neuquén basin.2

Argentina started the twentieth century as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and was the first country to form a national oil company, the Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales (YPF), in 1922. Currently, Argentina is Latin America’s largest producer of natural gas and the region’s fourth-largest oil producer after Venezuela, Mexico, and Brazil.3 The share of oil and gas in Argentina’s primary energy mix is much higher than the global average. Argentina is predominantly a natural gas-based economy: The share of natural gas in its primary energy mix is around 51 percent,4 compared to a world average of approximately 25 percent.5 Domestic oil and gas demand has been increasing at more than 3 percent per annum since recovery from the economic recession of early 2000, but, at the same time, production of oil and gas has been declining.6

In the last few years, Argentina’s oil and gas industry has been getting global attention for largely two key reasons. First, the beginning of the development of high-potential shale reserves in the Vaca Muerta shale play in the Neuquén region and, second, the promise by the new government (which came into power in early 2016) to introduce pro-business and pro-industry economic reforms in the country with an aim to make investments attractive for international and domestic players. Together, these two factors could lead to a more favorable period for the country’s oil and gas industry.

The following sections briefly describe the various phases of Argentina’s oil and gas history to set the context for understanding the industry’s present and possible future landscape.

Figure 1. With oil and gas (O&G) consumption continuing to increase and domestic production declining, Argentina became a net importer in 2010

Sources: BP statistical review of world energy 2017, World Bank

Economic reforms and sustained growth, along with increasing domestic production, defined the 1990s. The country was one of Latin America’s success stories in the 1990s. Its economy grew at a rapid pace as the Menem government adopted ambitious market-focused reforms,7  including privatization of some of the largest publicly owned companies such as YPF.8

Under these reforms, the government allowed unrestricted commercialization of all oil and gas products,removed restrictions on foreign trade, and gave companies full control to manage returns on their investments. During the deregulation process, YPF was restructured and privatized in the early 1990s, which further fueled growth in the country’s oil and gas industry.9 Following these reforms, oil and gas production rapidly increased, almost doubling between 1990 and 1997. It led to the country becoming an important gas exporter in the region. Argentina started exporting natural gas to Chile and other neighbors through a newly built network of pipelines.10

Economic recession cut short consumption, but not production, in the 2000s. Beginning in 2001, the country entered a deep economic recession, which eventually led to a sovereign bond default of $100 billion.11 The Argentine peso lost around 70 percent of its value when the fixed rate convertibility system ended abruptly.12

The economic slowdown had repercussions on its energy industry, as the policies of the 1990s, which had helped the sector grow substantially, were rolled back. Emergency controls like foreign exchange restrictions and new export taxes were also introduced.13 As a result, foreign participation and investments in businesses across industries, especially in the oil and gas sector, declined.

Even though the economy grew sixfold over this period, new investment in natural gas resource development was hampered by the continuation of natural gas price controls. Since Argentina is highly dependent on natural gas, the economic recovery during this period saw natural gas consumption increase, but production could not keep pace. On the contrary, as domestic prices were controlled, natural gas producers expanded exports to neighboring countries.14

In 2011, the government imposed new export limits that forced companies to keep returns generated from exports within the country. With prices under control and unfriendly export laws, companies reduced investments in E&P, which resulted in production declines at the same time as consumption was rapidly increasing. Argentina became a net energy importer in 2011 for the first time since 1984.15 By 2013, import values reached over $11 billion,16 impacting the balance of payments as domestic production of hydrocarbons declined by 25 percent from 2003 to 2014.17

  • Oil production increased from 517,000 barrels per day (b/d) in 1990 to 850,000 b/d in 2000
  • Oil reserves increased from 1.6 billion barrels in 1990 to 3 billion barrels in 2000
  • Natural gas production increased from 18.9 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 1990 to 38.1 bcm in 2000
  • Natural gas reserves increased from 0.7 trillion* cubic meters (tcm) in 1990 to 0.8 tcm

*BP p.l.c., “BP Statistical Review of World Energy,” June 2017.

In 2016, Argentina’s oil production was about 620,000 barrels per day (bbl/d), down significantly from the highs of 924,000 bbl/d in 2001.18 Similarly, gas production in 2016 was 3.7 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d), down from the peak of 4.5 bcf/d reached in 2006.19

YPF’s revenue and profits have scarcely grown over the past decade. As Argentina was growing in the 1990s during its privatization period, Repsol started increasing its stake in YPF and eventually took full control of the company in 1999. During the period of Repsol’s ownership of YPF, Argentina’s oil reserves declined from 300 million barrels in 2000 to 250 million barrels in 2007. Also, oil production started declining over the same period as domestic consumption was increasing. In 2012, Argentina’s government took back control of YPF from Repsol, claiming that the company had failed to invest in exploration in the country.20

A new era in Argentina’s oil and gas industry. The tide seemed to turn in favor of Argentina in 2013, with the identification of shale potential in the Vaca Muerta basin in the Neuquén region. It slowly started changing the industry’s landscape, and together with the new hydrocarbon law in late 2014, followed by some pro-economic policies of the new government, the oil and gas industry started showing signs of recovery.

To unlock Argentina’s hydrocarbon potential, the government has recently instituted several industry-favorable regulations. In this report, we will explore how the new government policies will likely impact the energy sector. Can Argentina’s present infrastructure be upgraded and expanded quickly enough to support future unconventional production? Will new shale resources and policies attract the required foreign investments? How can companies help the country’s oil and gas industry grow sustainably?

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Main events and milestones

Key plays to watch

Argentina’s large unconventional potential could drive its future oil and gas sector growth

In June 2013, an EIA report highlighted that Argentina has huge technically recoverable shale gas and shale oil resources. It placed Argentina in second place for technically recoverable shale gas resources of 802 Tcf and fourth for technically recoverable tight oil resources of 27 billion barrels.39 To put this in context, at current consumption levels, these resources have the potential to satisfy Argentina’s energy demand for another 150 years.40 Presently, Argentina is one of only four countries with commercial production of shale oil or gas, the others being the United States, Canada, and China. Argentina’s production from shale comes predominantly from the Vaca Muerta shale play.41

Since 2013, the development of Vaca Muerta shale has provided new impetus to upstream oil and gas activity in Argentina, with several international companies starting to participate. Increasing investments, declining drilling and completion costs, along with adoption of the latest technology and stable fiscal and regulatory policies, could lead to rapid growth in Vaca Muerta’s development. However, high upfront costs and replicability concerns continue to be obstacles in exploiting the country’s unconventional resources.

Recoverable shale gas resources   Recoverable tight oil resources
 

Source: EIA
Note: Green denotes commercial production.

   
Gross shale oil and gas production (thousand BOE/day)   Shale wells completed
 

New hydrocarbon policies could provide a boost to the industry, especially for development in the unconventional sector

In late 2014, a new hydrocarbon law was approved in the Senate after months of extensive negotiations between all key stakeholders in Argentina’s oil and gas industry. These included the regional oil-producing provinces, YPF, private companies, and the federal government. For the first time in the country, the new law differentiated between the exploration of conventional and unconventional reserves. It included certain tax exemptions to encourage development of newly discovered unconventional shale plays.

The new framework largely focused on promoting participation and investments from international companies in the Vaca Muerta shale play. Some key elements that are part of these new reforms are:

*Ignacio Paz, Simon Tysoe and Andrés Alfonso, “New hydrocarbons law in Argentina,” Lexology, November 13, 2014, https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=99e1d7e1-361d-4b46-afba-605f1ff52017, accessed July 20, 2017.

Key basins of Argentina:

The conventional oil and gas basins with the most ongoing activity are principally in the San Jorge, Neuquén, Austral, Noroeste, and Cuyana basins. San Jorge basin has 67 percent of proven oil reserves, while the Neuquén and Austral basins have 43 percent and 32 percent of proved natural gas reserves, respectively.42 For unconventional oil and gas, apart from the Vaca Muerta formation in the Neuquén basin, the other important formation is the centrally located Los Molles, which is expected to have 275 Tcf of technically recoverable shale gas and 3.7 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil. In Los Molles, YPF has signed an agreement with Pan American Energy to drill around 50 shale gas wells until 2019, at an estimated cost of $590 million.43

San Jorge basin: This basin is located south of the Vaca Muerta basin. Major companies operating in the region include YPF, Pan American Energy, and Sinopec. Within the San Jorge basin, Chubut and Santa Cruz are the major fields. In 2016, due to lower oil prices, investments in this basin decreased by around 30 percent, as YPF invested $650 million in 2016 (compared to $950 million in 2015) in the 6,000 production wells.44

Apart from these, tight gas production in the following formations has doubled since 2014: Mulichinco, Lajas, Los Molles, Punta Rosada, Basamento, and Precuyo.47

Vaca Muerta’s potential stacks up against successful shale plays of North America

Vaca Muerta’s geological characteristics seem comparable to the Bakken and Eagle Ford shale plays in the United States. The average thickness and reservoir pressure of formation is much higher than these two plays, clearly signifying enormous potential. As the commercial environment starts to become more attractive, similar to the shale boom seen in North America over the past decade, production in Vaca Muerta is expected to ramp up as fast, if not faster.

Strengthening the oilfield services sector could be critical to supporting rapidly increasing production and ongoing development of shale plays

The key to increasing unconventional oil production in Argentina may be how quickly operators are able to reduce costs associated with exploration and development. For example, YPF has started to build a plant near its Vaca Muerta operations to refine yellow sand mined from the nearby Chubut region into fine gray sand to be used for all fracking processes. YPF aims to start producing all sand domestically and stop importing sand. It would enable the company to save at least 10 percent of the drilling and completion cost for new wells.49 Lower costs is one key driver expected to attract more investments and increase overall drilling activity across basins.

The slowdown of US shale activity after the 2014 oil price decline coincided with an uptick in inward investment in Argentina in 2015 and beyond. Oilfield services companies moved into the Argentinian market, bringing their equipment and expertise in shale development to accelerate the learning curves of the country’s shale plays. For example, pioneers of walking rigs such as Helmerich & Payne, Nabors Industries, and Patterson-UTI Energy with their higher horsepower air-conditioned (AC)-powered technology that enabled faster and lower-cost horizontal drilling, were major service providers in the US shale market. At its peak, these companies had 85 percent of the industry’s most modern AC-drive-enabled rig fleet. Then came the oil price crash and many of these rigs became idle.50 That’s when these companies ventured into Argentina along with their state-of-the-art rigs, bringing disruptive technologies into Argentina’s oil and gas industry and accelerating the pace of exploration and development. Overall, reduced activity in North America during the oil price downturn freed up a lot of other heavy equipment required for E&P activities.

Figure 6. YPF’s activity in Vaca Muerta is continuously increasing
Gross shale oil and gas production (thousand BOE/d)   Shale wells completed
 

Source: YFP 3Q2016 investor presentation

   

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Recent significant changes

In early 2016, a new government was formed in Argentina that seemed to immediately embark on a more pro-business stance.51

  • Strengthen economic framework: As soon as the new government took office, it lifted capital controls and aimed to manage currency devaluation. In the short timespan so far, the government has already eliminated most of the restrictions in foreign exchange markets with the aim to attract foreign capital and companies. All these initiatives are part of the government's plans to reduce annual inflation from around 25–30 percent to as low as 5 percent by 2020.
  • Restructuring the energy department: The government elevated the level of the energy department to ministerial rank and appointed Juan José Aranguren, the former CEO for Shell in Argentina, as the department’s new minister. Also, other senior officials appointed to the department are all energy professionals with significant credentials and experience in the private sector.
  • Higher domestic oil prices: As soon as the new government took office in January, an important decision taken in the present low-price environment was to temporarily set up an internal price of $67 per barrel when the global prices were primarily between $35–$45 per barrel in the first three quarters of 2016. High domestic prices have helped reduce the decline during production in these difficult times for oil and gas producers.52

Since the new government came into power, global companies like Total, Exxon, Chevron, and Dow are already lining up for investments,53 as the new policies provide stable fiscal terms. As the business scenario improved during the past year, the government indicated in November 2016 that it plans to gradually reduce oil price subsidies and move toward international oil prices to reduce the mounting cost of maintaining subsidies.54

Amid announcements of slightly higher investments globally in the oil and gas industry in 2017, perhaps more importantly for Argentina, oil and gas companies have announced they will invest approximately $5 billion this year, after various labor unions agreed to lower costs, compared to a $2 billion investment in 2013 and around $3 billion in 2014 and 2015 each.55 President Macri announced the decision after talks between government, industry, and labor unions ended on a positive note. The companies have pledged capital not just in 2017, but also plan to double investments in coming years and invest up to $18 billion in 2018.56 The government also agreed to maintain a minimum price of $7.5/MMBtu for newly produced natural gas through 2021, even though the subsidy had been scheduled to expire this year.57

For oil, President Macri has removed all export taxes, which is expected to incentivize overseas sales of crude oil for domestic producers.58 YPF’s president ascertained the importance of these decisions when he stated after the meeting that the company would have invested 20–30 percent less this year in the absence of the agreement. Lower labor costs are expected to reduce YPF’s operating cost by 30 percent.59 The deal with labor unions is particularly significant because of Argentina’s history of labor issues. Previously, labor unions used their influence to overstaff drilling rigs by two times the average required in North America. The unions also imposed restrictions on the number of hours crews could work; drillers had to deal with threats of repeated strikes. All these labor issues led to decreases in productivity and increased operating expenses.60

  • To increase production, the domestic price of light crude oil was fixed at $67/barrel despite global prices ranging from $35–$45/bbl in 2016.
  • Natural gas prices have been set at $7.50/MMBtu, almost four times the price of Henry Hub natural gas in the United States.*

*Taos Turner, “Argentina’s ‘Dead Cow’ Provides Rare Bright Spot for Oil, Gas Drillers,” Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2016, https://www.wsj.com/articles/argentinas-dead-cow-provides-rare-bright-spot-for-oil-gas-drillers-1457566666, accessed August 14, 2017.

The industry is undoubtedly excited about the landmark deal and expects drilling costs to fall further in Argentina, making the country’s oil and gas sector more competitive. Riding high on Argentina’s positive developments, executives at Gas y Petroleo del Neuquén SA (GyP), the oil and gas company owned by Neuquén province, visited the United States in January 2017 to look for investments by independent E&Ps.61

YPF is putting all its efforts not only in the domestic market, but also in looking for opportunities outside. As a result, YPF signed a landmark 40-year natural gas exploration deal with its Bolivian counterpart, YPFB, in mid-January 2017. The contract includes development in the Charagua block, which is located in the Santa Cruz province of Bolivia. The deal ensures long-term sustainable supply of natural gas to Argentina.62 The daily production of natural gas is expected to be around 360 million cubic feet (mcf) and could provide the government of Bolivia with estimated earnings of around $12 billion. To further spur drilling activity and make it easy to import used rigs, the government has reduced import duties to only 7 percent and, with some type of equipment, 0 percent duty, while others will have 14 percent. The government’s decision was announced when President Macri met oil executives in Houston in April 2017.63

Figure 7. Imports (including liquefied natural gas) and exports of natural gas to and from Argentina64
Imports   Exports
 


Foreign participation is expected to increase as Argentina moves toward a more stable fiscal regime with higher transparency for business

As Argentina tries to transform its way of doing business, it could be a good opportunity for small, medium, and large international firms to venture into the country. The new policies and favorable fiscal regime may provide a more competitive investment framework, with higher benefits for early entrants. As companies start coming in, competition is expected to lower operating costs amid a fast learning curve for operators.

  • Accountability and transparency: The new policies recently introduced by the government are designed to ensure accountability and transparency in business operations and, hence, ensure smoothness in operations across segments by all stakeholders. As stable and long-term sustainable policies are adopted, companies are becoming more confident as evident from investments discussed in the next section.
  • Stable and consistent fiscal regime: In the present low oil and gas price scenario, the government’s focus on ensuring higher domestic oil and gas prices has been instrumental for companies to commit investment in the long term and help develop the country’s untapped reserves potential.
  • Foreign participation: The focus on improving the regulatory regime has resulted in attracting foreign participation as well as private local players. The new 2014 hydrocarbon law was a step forward to ensure the removal of major entry barriers for doing sustainable business for small, medium, and large international players.

Most international oil companies have rapidly increased their presence in Argentina in the past two years. Chevron has been the most active international player in the country. It signed an agreement with YPF in 2013 to invest $1.6 billion as part of pilot programs to test the feasibility of Vaca Muerta in the Neuquén province. Because the pilots have been successful, both companies agreed to extend the venture for 35 years, and have together drilled over 350 wells cumulatively. In early 2016, Chevron managed to cut drilling and completion costs in the province by more than 20 percent from around $14 million to $11 million per well and is on track to reach a target of less than $10 million. “There are a lot of companies watching Chevron and YPF in Argentina. The performance of those wells is coming very close, very competitive to the United States,” said an executive of Chevron.65 In addition to Vaca Muerta, Chevron has stakes and operating interests in various blocks across Argentina, such as Loma Campana and Narambuena.66

ExxonMobil began a pilot in Vaca Muerta after the company invested $200 million for exploration. XTO Energy, Exxon’s subsidiary with the deepest experience in drilling in US shale plays, started pilots in La Invernada and Bajo del Choique blocks in the second half of 2016. Exxon further plans to invest $250 million, while XTO Energy is expected to drill five pilot wells in the next five years. These pilot wells are being planned with horizontal lengths of 2,500 meters, with up to 25 fracture stages each. To handle the production, oil separation and storage facilities, along with requisite pipeline infrastructure, are being constructed. Based on the results of these pilot wells, Exxon has mentioned that it could invest as much as $14 billion in the region as part of its 35-year license, which could include drilling over 550 horizontal wells in the next 10 years.67

YPF, on the other hand, continues to be at the forefront of developments in the unconventional sector. YPF completed drilling of nine wells, surface facilities, and 3D seismics of its block in the Vaca Muerta basin, partnering with Petronas in the first round of development from May 2015 to September 2016 at an investment of $165 million, and received positive results. The two companies decided in December 2016 to begin a second round of development and invest around $200 million, which will include drilling 10 horizontal wells and constructing facilities to transport the shale oil production.68

In August 2017, YPF signed a deal with Norway’s Statoil to jointly explore for onshore shale oil and gas resources in the Vaca Muerta formation. Both companies will have 50 percent ownership in the Bajo del Toro exploration block in the Neuquén basin and plan to invest between $300 million to $500 million.69

Figure 8. Rig count has stabilized in the past 12 months in Argentina, as fiscal policies improve and global oil prices recover

Sources: Baker Hughes, EIA

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SWOT assessment

Looking to the future

Supermajors are leading investments in Argentina, with significant participation from NOCs and small independents as well

International investment will likely be needed to develop Argentina’s vast conventional and unconventional resources. YPF states that it might take $200 billion to fully exploit Vaca Muerta alone.70 Moreover, to fully exploit the resources, there would be substantial need of not just capital, but also skilled workers and advanced technology. While recent reforms and pro-business policies could incentivize investment, turning the Vaca Muerta into something that looks like the Eagle Ford will take years. All of this means that large international players like the supermajors, as well as large national oil companies (NOCs), would need to invest in pilot projects and move the Vaca Muerta and other formations in the Neuquén basin from niche plays to commercially viable ones on a global basis.

Recent activity in Argentina indicative of an upswing in investment

Oilfield services

  • Well-developed oilfield services sector has primarily focused on conventional operations. 
  • Advantage for Argentina is proximity of new basins to ongoing conventional drilling activity.

NOCs

  • Russia’s Gazprom and China’s Sinopec have signed a deal with YPF to develop Vaca Muerta reserves.
  • Petrobras Argentina recently committed to spend around $1 billion over the next three years in Neuquén.

Supermajors

  • BP’s CEO has repeatedly mentioned in various forums the company's interest in Vaca Muerta plays, as it focuses on reducing drilling costs. 
  • Chevron has been one of the more active IOCs in the Vaca Muerta region. At the same time its efforts in the region have brought drilling costs down by 20 percent this year. 
  • ExxonMobil plans to invest over $10 billion in Vaca Muerta basins over the next decade through its subsidiary XTO Energy.

Independents

  • PAE has been the second largest producer after YPF in Argentina. In 2015, PAE accounted for 25 percent of oil production. 
  • PAE has invested over $13 billion in Argentine resources in last 15 years and further plans to invest $1.4 billion in 2016.

Sources: Company reports

Argentina is now at the cusp of a potential first shale revolution outside of North America. We discussed earlier how the geology of its shale plays is similar to the successful shale plays of North America. It has been over five years since the first pilots of the shale reserves, but the investment climate has improved recently under the current administration’s pro-business orientation. To add to this, the ongoing oil price downturn also seems past its low, as oil markets in 2018 are expected to move toward balance, leading to oil price stability at a higher level than over the past three years. Also, the downturn has freed up a lot of rigs and equipment that are now available at lower costs. EIA projects oil prices to average $57 per barrel in 2018, up from the average of $52, $43, and $54 in 2015, 2016, and 2017 respectively, indicating an increase in activities and investments globally.

Tailwinds are gaining momentum:
  • Labor unions and the government recently reached an agreement to substantially decrease operating costs and also reduce disruptions due to labor union strikes.
  • As promised, investments turn into hard assets, adoption of the latest technology increases, and with improving supporting infrastructure, production is expected to ramp up at a faster pace.
  • Existing pipeline and storage infrastructure support the initial development of reserves.
  • Increasing adoption of technology: US E&P companies reduced exploration costs significantly in the past 12 months. The ramp-up of Argentina’s unconventional production will depend on how quickly costs decrease in the region as they adopt the latest technology.
However, some headwinds remain:
  • Building infrastructure to handle growing production will likely remain a challenge.
  • Adoption of the latest technology and continued availability of a skilled workforce are other challenges.
  • More participation of oilfield services companies to support the growing need from producers will be needed.
  • On the regulatory side, the government’s recent decision to gradually converge high domestic oil prices with international prices might play spoilsport in the short term.*
  • Keeping cost inflation in an acceptable range will be critical to controlling costs for the producers.

*Jim Saxton, Argentina’s Economic Crisis: Causes and Cures, US Government, June 2016; Ryan Stevenson, “Argentina
re-links oil prices with international benchmarks,” Newsbase, October 3, 2017, https://newsbase.com/topstories/argentina-re-links-oil-prices-international-benchmarks,
accessed October 12, 2017

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Endnotes

1 EIA, “Spot prices,” https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_pri_spt_s1_a.htm, accessed October 24, 2017.
2
BP p.l.c., “BP Statistical Review of World Energy,” June 2017, https://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/energy-economics/statistical-review-of-world-energy.html, accessed September 20, 2017.
3 EIA, “Country Analysis, Argentina,” March 2016, https://www.eia.gov/beta/international/analysis.cfm?iso=ARG, accessed July 19, 2017.
4 EMIS, “Energy Sector Argentina,” April 2016, https://www.emis.com/sites/default/files/EMIS%20Insight%20-%20Argentina%20Energy%20Sector.pdf, accessed July 20, 2017.
5 EIA, “International Energy Outlook 2016,” May 11, 2016, http://www.eia.gov/outlooks/ieo/nat_gas.cfm, accessed July 19, 2017.
6 BP, “BP Statistical Review of World Energy,” June 2017.
7 Patricia I. Vásquez, “Argentina’s Oil and Gas Sector: Coordinated Federalism and The Rule of Law,” Wilson Center, May 2016 https://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/argentinasoilgas.vasquez.pdf, accessed July 20, 2017.
8 Oil and Gas Journal, “Argentina to fully privatize state owned YPF”, October 5, 1992, http://www.ogj.com/articles/print/volume-90/issue-40/in-this-issue/general-interest/argentina-to-fully-privatize-state-owned-ypf.html, accessed July 20, 2017.
9 Vásquez, “Argentina’s Oil and Gas Sector.”
10 Ibid.

11 Dawn Kissi, “Venezuela flirts with default, could be worse than Argentina,” CNBC, February 07, 2016, http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/04/venezuela-flirts-with-default-could-be-worse-than-argentina.html, accessed August 20, 2017.
12 Vásquez, “Argentina’s Oil and Gas Sector.”
13 Ibid.
14 Ibid.
15 Forbes, “Argentina Needs Shale Oil and Gas Development,” April 8, 2015, https://www.forbes.com/sites/judeclemente/2015/04/08/argentina-needs-shale-oil-and-gas-development/#38a366d09dc4, accessed July 20, 2017.
16 Business Insider, “All Of Argentina Is Questioning Its Relationship With Iran — Here's What That Relationship Actually Is,” January 27, 2015, http://www.businessinsider.com/argentina-iran-relations-2015-1?IR=T, accessed August 20, 2017.
17 BP, “BP Statistical Review of World Energy,” June 2017.
18 Ibid.
19 Ibid.
20 Pablo Gonzalez and Daniel Cancel, “Argentine Congress Approves $5 Billion Payment to Repsol for YPF,” Bloomberg, April 24, 2014, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-04-24/argentine-congress-approves-5-billion-payment-to-repsol-for-ypf, accessed July 21, 2017.
21 Gateway to South America, “The Argentine Oil Industry Review,” March 25, 2014, https://www.gatewaytosouthamerica-newsblog.com/the-argentine-oil-industry-review/, accessed June 17, 2017.
22 IESA, “The Performance of Argentine Oil Industry over a Century,” August 2017, http://servicios.iesa.edu.ve/portal/CIEA/argentina_scheimberg_d1.pdf, accessed July 21, 2017.
23 Ibid.
24 Ibid.
25 Gateway to South America, “The Argentine Oil Industry Review.”
26 Vásquez, “Argentina’s Oil and Gas Sector.”
27 IESA, “The Performance of Argentine Oil Industry over a Century.”
28 Ibid.
29 Ibid.
30 Ibid.
31 Ibid.
32 Gateway to South America, “The Argentine Oil Industry Review.”
33 Ibid.
34 Ibid.
35 Ibid.
36 Andrews Kurth, “Argentina: Amendment of the Hydrocarbons Law,” The National Law Review, https://www.natlawreview.com/article/argentina-amendment-hydrocarbons-law, accessed August 10, 2017.
37 Cristian Folgar, “The New Argentina: Time to Double Down on the Energy Sector?,” Atlantic Council, http://publications.atlanticcouncil.org/argentina-energy/ac_argentina.pdf, accessed August 17, 2017.
38 “Argentina announces oil labor deal in Santa Cruz province,” Reuters, September 30, 2017, https://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL2N1MA26L, accessed October 5, 2017.
39 EIA, “Technically Recoverable Shale Oil and Shale Gas Resources,” June 2013, http://www.eia.gov/analysis/studies/worldshalegas/pdf/overview.pdf, accessed July 22, 2017.
40 The Economist, “Dead-cow bounce-Politics is the biggest hurdle to developing the enormous Vaca Muerta field,” August 23, 2014, http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21613314-politics-biggest-hurdle-developing-enormous-vaca-muerta-field-dead-cow-bounce, accessed July 20, 2017.
41 EIA, “Shale gas and tight oil are commercially produced in just four countries,” February 13, 2015, http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=19991, accessed July 21, 2017.
42 Instituto Argentino del Petroleo y del Gas, “Argentina’s Hydrocarbon Industry-2015 Outlook,” April 2016, http://www.aogexpo.com.ar/download/AOG-Overview-Hidrocarburos-2016-web-EN.pdf, accessed June 19, 2017.
43 Buenos Aires Herald, “Shale fields to get US$1.4 billion boost,” July 16, 2015, http://www.buenosairesherald.com/article/194048/shale-fields-to-get-US$14-billion-boost, accessed July 20, 2017.
44 Energia16, “Investment in Golfo San Jorge basin (Argentina) drops in the year’s first semester,” August 22, 2016, http://www.energia16.com/investment-in-golfo-san-jorge-basin-argentina-drops-in-the-years-first-semester/?lang=en, accessed July 19, 2017.
45 Vásquez, “Argentina’s Oil and Gas Sector.”
46 Kelli Ainsworth, “Shale, tight gas production from Argentina’s Neuquén Basin on the rise, while Venezuela suffers dramatic production declines,” Drilling Contractor, August 26, 2016,http://www.drillingcontractor.org/shale-tight-gas-production-argentinas-neuquen-basin-rise-venezuela-suffers-dramatic-production-declines-40150, accessed July 20, 2017.
47 Ibid.
48 IHS, “Expectations and Interest High for Argentina’s Emerging Vaca Muerta Shale Play; Potential Lures Explorers but Sweet Spots Still Undefined” February 1, 2016,http://news.ihsmarkit.com/press-release/argentina/expectations-and-interest-high-argentinas-emerging-vaca-muerta-shale-play-po, accessed July 19, 2017; University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center, “Development History,” https://www.undeerc.org/bakken/developmenthistory.aspx, accessed on January 30, 2017; Kent Harrington, “Argentina's Vaca Muerta Is a Refuge in the Shale Storm,” American Institute of Chemical Engineers, January 11, 2016, http://www.aiche.org/chenected/2016/01/argentinas-vaca-muerta-refuge-shale-storm, accessed July 19, 2017; Vásquez, “Argentina’s Oil and Gas Sector”, https://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/argentinasoilgas.vasquez.pdf, accessed July 21, 2017; Ked Interests, LLC, “Eagle Ford Shale Geology,” https://eaglefordshale.com/geology/, accessed on January 30, 2017; EIA, “US Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves, Year-end 2015,” December 14, 2016, http://www.eia.gov/naturalgas/crudeoilreserves/, accessed July 21, 2017; Rystad Energy, “The oil price is falling but so is the breakeven price for shale,”http://www.rystadenergy.com/NewsEvents/Newsletters/UsArchive/us-q1-2015, accessed on January 30, 2017; Ryan Decker, Aaron Flaaen, and Maria Tito, “Unraveling the Oil Conundrum: Productivity Improvements and Cost Declines in the US Shale Oil Industry,” Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, March 22, 2016,https://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/notes/feds-notes/2016/unraveling-the-oil-conundrum-productivity-improvements-and-cost-declines-in-the-us-shale-oil-industry-20160322.html#t1fn1, accessed July 20, 2017; YPF, “Vaca Muerta Update,” March 17, 2014, http://www.ypf.com/enu/InversoresAccionistas/Lists/Presentaciones/YPF-Information-Presentation.pdf, accessed July 22, 2017; EIA, “Drilling Productivity Report,” February 13, 2017, http://www.eia.gov/petroleum/drilling/, accessed July 21, 2017; John Harju, “Bakken and CO2”, University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center, September 2012, https://www.ndoil.org/image/cache/Harju.pdf, accessed June 19, 2017; Ieda Gomes and Roberto Brandt, “Unconventional Gas in Argentina: Will it become a Game Changer?”, University of Oxford, October 2016, https://www.oxfordenergy.org/wpcms/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Unconventional-Gas-in-Argentina-Will-it-become-a-Game-Changer-NG-113.pdf, accessed July 19, 2017.
49 Hugh Bronstein & Eliana Raszewski, “Argentina’s YPF Sees Cost Of Vaca Muerta Drilling Falling 10%,” Rigzone, April 16, 2015 http://www.rigzone.com/news/oil_gas/a/138154/argentinas_ypf_sees_cost_of_vaca_muerta_drilling_falling_10, accessed July 19, 2017.
50 Kent Harrington, “Argentina’s Vaca Muerta Is a Refuge in the Shale Storm,” American Institute of Chemical Engineers, January 11, 2016,https://www.aiche.org/chenected/2016/01/argentinas-vaca-muerta-refuge-shale-storm, accessed July 22, 2017.
51 Charlie Devereux, “Argentina Elects Pro-Business President; Big Change Expected,” Bloomberg, ‎November‎ ‎23‎, ‎2015‎, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-23/argentina-elects-pro-business-president-big-change-is-expected, accessed July 19, 2017.
52 Taos Turner, “Argentina Announces Lifting of Currency Controls,” Wall Street Journal, December 16, 2015, https://www.wsj.com/articles/argentina-to-announce-lifting-of-currency-controls-1450286389, accessed August 14, 2017; Richard Spencer, “President-elect Mauricio Macri Signals Radical Change in Argentina,” InvestorIntel, November 27, 2015, https://investorintel.com/sectors/technology-metals/technology-metals-intel/president-elect-signals-radical-change-argentina/, accessed August 10, 2017; BBVA Research, Argentina Economic Outlook, May 2016, https://www.bbvaresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/1705_Argentina_Economic_Outlook_2T17.pdf, accessed August 10, 2017; and Dave Forest, “Oil Producers Here Are Now Getting Double The World Price,” Oil Price.com, January 08, 2016, https://oilprice.com/Energy/Oil-Prices/Oil-Producers-Here-Are-Now-Getting-Double-The-World-Price.html, accessed August 10, 2017.
53 Buenos Aires Herald, “Vaca Muerta: Exxon eyes US$10B project,” June 04, 2016, http://www.buenosairesherald.com/article/215527/vaca-muerta-exxon-eyes-us$10b-project, accessed July 19, 2017; Charles Kennedy, “Argentina’s Shale Gets Another Boost with Dow Investment,” Oil Price.com, December 16, 2015, http://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Argentinas-Shale-Gets-Another-Boost-with-Dow-Investment.html, accessed July 19, 2017; and Charles Newbery, “Argentina shale development moves forward, but still slow,” Platts, May 9, 2016,http://www.platts.com/latest-news/natural-gas/buenosaires/argentina-shale-development-moves-forward-but-21418193, accessed July 23, 2017.
54 Jim Saxton, “Argentina’s Economic Crisis: Causes and Cures,” US Government, June 2003, http://www.jec.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/5fbf2f91-6cdf-4e70-8ff2-620ba901fc4c/argentina-s-economic-crisis---06-13-03.pdf, accessed July 19, 2017.
55 Gomes and Brandt, “Unconventional Gas in Argentina,” https://www.oxfordenergy.org/wpcms/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Unconventional-Gas-in-Argentina-Will-it-become-a-Game-Changer-NG-113.pdf, accessed July 17, 2017.
56 MercoPress, “Macri announces program to boost development of Vaca Muerta shale formation,” January 11, 2017, http://en.mercopress.com/2017/01/11/macri-announces-program-to-boost-development-of-vaca-muerta-shale-formation, accessed July 19, 2017.
57 Ibid.
58 Ibid.
59 The Wall Street Journal, “Oil and Gas Firms Pledge $5 Billion in Investments in Argentina This Year,” https://www.wsj.com/articles/oil-and-gas-firms-pledge-5-billion-in-investments-in-argentina-this-year-1484069992, accessed July 19, 2017.
60 Kelli Ainsworth, “Shale, tight gas production from Argentina’s Neuquén Basin on the rise, while Venezuela suffers dramatic production declines.”
61 The Economist, “Dead-cow bounce-Politics is the biggest hurdle to developing the enormous Vaca Muerta field,” August 23, 2014, http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21613314-politics-biggest-hurdle-developing-enormous-vaca-muerta-field-dead-cow-bounce, accessed July 22, 2017.
62 Oilprice, “Argentina, Bolivia seal gas exploration deal,” January 18, 2017, https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Argentina-Bolivia-Seal-Gas-Exploration-Deal.html, accessed December 13, 2017.
63 Platts, “Argentina eases used rig imports to spur drilling, boost output,” August 10, 2017, https://www.platts.com/latest-news/oil/buenosaires/argentina-eases-used-rig-imports-to-spur-drilling-21604341, accessed July 19, 2017.
64 Gomes and Brandt, “Unconventional Gas in Argentina.”
65 Pablo Rosendo Gonzalez and Andres R Martinez, “Chevron Costs at Vaca Muerta Shale Drop 20% Nearing Goals,” Bloomberg, June 24, 2016,https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-24/chevron-vaca-muerta-costs-drop-20-nearing-goals-moshiri-says, accessed July 23, 2017; Erwin Cifuentes, “Chevron Close To Meeting Spending Goals At Vaca Muerta,” Oil Price.com, June 27, 2016, http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Chevron-Close-To-Meeting-Spending-Goals-At-Vaca-Muerta.html, accessed July 19, 2017.
66 Chevron Corp., “About Argentina,” https://www.chevron.com/worldwide/argentina, accessed January 18, 2017.
67 Ryan Stevenson, “ExxonMobil begins Vaca Muerta shale pilot,” Newsbase, August 30, 2016, http://newsbase.com/topstories/exxonmobil-begins-vaca-muerta-shale-pilot, accessed July 19, 2017; ExxonMobil, “About Argentina,” http://corporate.exxonmobil.com/en/company/worldwide-operations/locations/argentina/about/overview, accessed January 16, 2017.
68 Alfaro – Abogados, “Argentina: YPF And Petronas Will Invest Us $192 Million In Vaca Muerta,” December 9, 2016,  http://www.mondaq.com/Argentina/x/551326/Oil+Gas+Electricity/Ypf+And+Petronas+Will+Invest+Us+192+Million+In+Vaca+Muerta, accessed July 19, 2017.
69 Rigzone, “Statoil, YPF To Explore Shale Oil, Gas In Argentina,” August 25, 2017, http://www.rigzone.com/news/oil_gas/a/151527/statoil_ypf_to_explore_shale_oil_gas_in_argentina, accessed July 19, 2017.
70 Charles Kennedy, “Big Oil Flocks To Argentina As Permian Land Prices Skyrocket,” Oilprice.com, September 15, 2016, http://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Big-Oil-Flocks-To-Argentina-As-Permian-Land-Prices-Skyrocket.html, accessed July 19, 2017.

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