CHINA, ARGENTINA SHALE
Argentina and China have respectively drilled more than 275 and 200 wells targeting shale plays over the past 2 years, providing each country with the potential to significantly increase production of shale gas and tight oil.
In Argentina, YPF SA reported production in April of 22,900 b/d of oil and 67 MMcfd of natural gas from three joint ventures in the Neuquen basin's Vaca Muerta shale formation in the west-central portion of the country. The JVs are with Chevron Corp. at Loma Campana field, Dow Chemical Co. at El Orejano field, and Malaysia's state-run Petronas at La Amarga Chica field.
China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec) and OAO Gazprom also have recently signed a memorandum of understanding with YPF to jointly develop from Vaca Muerta.
Initial shale exploration and development efforts in China, meanwhile, have focused on the Longmaxi formation in the Sichuan basin in the south-central part of the country. EIA notes that while several international companies are active in China, much of the early effort has been led by China National Petroleum Corp.'s (CNPC) PetroChina Co. Ltd. and Sinopec.
CNPC and Sinopec are on schedule to reach 600 MMcfd in gas production by yearend, according to China's Ministry of Land and Resources. CNPC has drilled 125 shale wells, bringing 74 of them online, and is on schedule to produce 250 MMcfd of gas by yearend. Sinopec has a commercial-scale effort under way at Fuling shale gas field in Sichuan, producing 130 MMcfd. At yearend 2014, Sinopec had completed drilling 75 test wells at Fuling field, with plans to drill an additional 253 wells.
Shale oil and gas exploration drilling also is under way in Mexico, particularly in the country's portion of the Eagle Ford shale and in the La Casita formation within the Burgos basin in northeastern Mexico. Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) released in May results for 13 of its shale exploration wells, of which 10 were categorized as commercial. The 10 gas wells have initial production ranging 2-11 MMcfd. Pemex also drilled three horizontal wells into the Tampico-Misantla basin's Pimienta formation in 2013. The company plans to complete all 3 wells this year.
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