YPF To Restart Shale Drilling In Argentina

(Argus, 4.Sep.2020) — Argentina’s state-controlled YPF will resume drilling activity in the country’s Vaca Muerta shale formation after an almost six-month pause resulting from pandemic restrictions.

YPF will begin operating two drilling rigs in Vaca Muerta over the next two weeks, chief executive Sergio Affronti said today.

The rigs will go to Loma Campana, the Vaca Muerta block that YPF operates in a 50:50 partnership with Chevron, according to a YPF official.

“We want to demonstrate our commitment to gradually resume activity,” Affronti said.

The company’s goal is to reach 12-13 drilling rigs in March 2021 across the Neuquen basin.

When all rigs are taken into account, including drilling, workover and development, YPF aims to have 40-45 rigs in service by March, mostly for Vaca Muerta but also conventional operations.

YPF has been negotiating with labor unions as part of a broad cost-cutting effort after the government imposed a lockdown on 20 March. The restrictions have since been relaxed in much of the country.

Last month, YPF said it had 71 shale oil wells and 10 shale gas wells that had been drilled but not completed because of the pandemic.

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By Daniel Politi