Equinor strengthens its presence in Argentina’s Vaca Muerta

Source: press release, 31 January 2020

The Bandurria Sur production site in the Vaca Muerta (photo: YPF)
The Bandurria Sur production site in the Vaca Muerta (photo: YPF)

Equinor and its partner Shell have completed a joint acquisition of the 49% interest held by Schlumberger in the Bandurria Sur onshore block in Argentina’s Neuquén province. The consideration for each partner for their 24.5% interest is USD 177.5 million.

The block covers around 56,000 gross acres in the central area of the prolific Vaca Muerta play. The operator is YPF (currently with a 51% interest) and the block is in the late pilot phase of development with a current production of around 10,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Equinor and Shell have also reached a preliminary agreement with YPF to acquire a further 11% interest from YPF. On completion of this additional transaction, which is subject to a number of conditions including authority approval, Equinor and Shell will each own a 30% non-operated interest with YPF owning a 40% interest and continuing as operator.

“We are very pleased to partner with Shell in the Bandurria Sur block, an asset in an area with significant potential, and to further develop our close partnership with YPF, with whom we are already exploring several onshore, offshore and renewable opportunities in Argentina. We are broadening our activities in Argentina in support of our strategy to build international growth options,” says Nidia Álvarez Crogh, Equinor’s country manager for Argentina.

As a result of the completed transaction a former subsidiary of Schlumberger, which holds the 49% interest in the block, is now equally owned by Equinor and Shell. The effective date of this transaction is 1 January 2020.

Equinor participates in eight offshore blocks in Argentina, six as operator. Equinor is also a 50% partner with YPF (operator) in the Bajo del Toro onshore block and has a 90% operated interest in the neighbouring blocks Bajo del Toro Este and Aguila Mora Noreste, with Gas y Petróleo de Neuquén (GyP). In addition, Equinor has interests in the Cañadón León onshore wind farm in Santa Cruz and the Guañizuil 2A (G2A) solar asset.