Argentina Axes $2bn Vaca Muerta Gas Pipeline

(Energy Analytics Institute, 15.Jul.2020) — The Vaca Muerta gas pipeline, one of the most ambitious projects of the government of Argentina’s former President Mauricio Macri, was suspended indefinitely by Energy Secretariat Sergio Lanziani, according to details published by local media outlet Clarín.

Work on the pipeline would have seen it span 1,040 kilometers and joining in two stages Tratayén, Salliquelló and San Nicolás, with a total investment of $2,000 million. The pipeline would have been able to transport 60 million cubic meters per day (MMcm/d) of gas and would have been slated for completion in 2024.

“The only hard fact is that the project was suspended. There are no other alternative projects that we are studying,” reported Clarín, citing Argentina’s Deputy Hydrocarbons Minister Juan José Carbajales.

“When we began to analyze the Vaca Muerta gas pipeline project, we found anomalies regarding studies, production and consumption, billing, and details about how it was going to be financed and who was going to pay for production and how,” Carbajales told the media outlet.

Current Data

Average demand in Argentina is 130 MMcm/d with peaks of 150 MMcm/d in the winter. The current supply for consumption is 108 MMcm/d and the Neuquén basin produces 80 MMcm/d, of which 35 MMcm/d is extracted from the Vaca Muerta.

In the future, Patagonian deposits could provide 200 MMcm/d to the national network, experts predict. Data from the energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie show that in 2030 that Argentina could register gas exports of 40 MMcm/d and for 80% of the year.

Currently, it is estimated that more than than 20,000 operators have suspended activities in the Neuquén Basin and activities are down between 65% and 70%, according to sector sources. Annual investments are estimated to be around $3 billion compared to around $5 billion in 2019.

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By Aaron Simonsky. © Energy Analytics Institute (EAI). All Rights Reserved.

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