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Argentina Overview


in figures

Oil Reserves2.2 billion barrels

Oil Production593,000 bopd

Gas Reserves300 bcm

Gas Production37.1 bcm

Argentina: Vast Unconventional Potential

At 2.4 billion barrels, Argentina has the fourth-largest oil reserves in South America, and occupies the same rank for oil production in the continent, with a total crude output of 593,000 bopd in 2017. Argentina’s natural gas reserves total 350 bcm (13.4 tcf), and the country is the largest gas producer in South America, with output standing at 37.1 bcm (1.31 tcf) in 2017. Argentina’s unconventional oil and gas plays have prolific potential. The country has the world’s fourth-largest unproven, but technically recoverable reserves of shale oil at 27 billion barrels, as well as the second-largest reserves of shale gas globally at 22.7 tcm (802 tcf), according to US Energy Information Administration assessments. Despite its hydrocarbons resource wealth, production from conventional oil and gasfields has fallen, recently turning Argentina into a net energy importer.

Despite new legislation and tantalising plays, state-owned YPF still dominates the  industry. The company is Argentina’s largest producer of oil and gas and owns more than half of Argentina’s refineries. Attempts are now being made to rebrand YPF as an entity willing to partner with new, technology-intensive E&P players. The NOC is already engaged in upstream projects with companies such as Chevron, Dow Argentina, Enap Sipetrol, Statoil and more. One obstacle to the entrance of small and medium-sized players in the numbers that allowed for the USA’s shale boom is the cost of operating in Argentina. Not only do operators face high production costs in trying to recover hydrocarbons from complex plays, but issues such as conflicts with labour unions also contribute to expenses.

With the goal of advancing the development of Vaca Muerta, oil and gas companies in Argentina, along with the government and labour unions, entered an agreement in early January 2017 that would see many of the usual roadblocks to the play’s development removed. The agreement, which applied to the Neuquén province was replicated in several of the country’s other hydrocarbons-producing provinces throughout 2017. Adding to the successes of Argentina’s Gas Plan, a programme incentivising investment in gas production, the government in March 2017 established an extended subsidy to incentivise investors in Vaca Muerta projects. Under the new deal, gas producers working in the Neuquén Basin will be paid USD 7.50 per million Btu, decreasing by USD 0.50 each year until prices reach USD 6 in 2021. The deal was expected to draw in around USD 5 billion in investment in Vaca Muerta in 2017, to be surpassed in 2018, with projected investments totalling about USD 15 billion. Due to the success of the initiative, the Ministry of Energy and Mining established a similar programme for the Austral Basin in November 2017.

Tenaris wins Qatar pipeline contract
Qatar - November 30, 2021

Tenaris has signed a contract with state-run QatarEnergy to supply line pipes and bends for the North Field East project, the…

Brazil drought threatens Argentine power generation
Argentina - July 15, 2021

As Brazil goes through its worst drought in a century, the Paraná River, crucial for the economy and power generation of…

Excelerate Energy FSRU starts operations in Argentina
Argentina - June 03, 2021

Excelerate Energy’s Exemplar FSRU has started operations at the Ingeniero White port in Bahía Blanca, Argentina, to help cover the winter peak of natural gas demand…

Gazprom and Pampa Energía ink Vaca Muerta accord
Argentina - May 17, 2021

Russian energy major Gazprom has signed a confidentiality agreement with Argentine energy company Pampa Energía to explore investments in Vaca Muerta.

The deal was…

Raízen propellant plant inaugurated in Buenos Aires
Argentina - March 31, 2021

Argentine President Alberto Fernández on Monday inaugurated a new USD 8-million propellant plant in Raízen’s refinery in Dock Sud, Buenos Aires Province.


Vaca Muerta nears record frac stages
Argentina - March 12, 2021

After a rough 2020 with a drop of 50% in frac stages in Argentina’s Vaca Muerta formation, companies operating in the prolific shale basin conducted 685 frac stages…

Ian Cloke Tullow
Guyana - June 23, 2020

Ian Cloke, executive vice-president of Tullow Oil, talks to The Energy Year about the company’s African asset sales, how Covid-19 has impacted operations and the…

Argentina - February 01, 2018

Marcelo Álvarez, president of the Argentine Chamber of Renewable Energies (CADER), talks to TOGY about the development of the renewable energy sector in Argentina and…




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