Oil production from Argentina shale to create surplus in energy trade

Jonathan Gilbert and James Attwood, Bloomberg March 08, 2023

(Bloomberg) – Booming oil production out of shale patch Vaca Muerta will create surpluses in energy trade for Argentina to the tune of $8 billion within a few years, Energy Undersecretary Flavia Royon said in an interview.

Drilling is picking up fast in Vaca Muerta after a series of false dawns over the past decade with top developer, state-run YPF SA, poised to ramp up investments.

Pipeline expansions, a major bottleneck to production, are finally under construction. A duct to Chile that’s been abandoned for years will start to ship crude in May, Royon said. YPF is also leading plans for a new cross-country conduit to the Atlantic coast, where a new port would also be built. That’s in addition to current work to double similar existing facilities.

Argentina’s chronic shortage of U.S. dollars is a key source of imbalances in its crisis-prone economy, and over the years has led to unorthodox policies including capital controls and debt restructurings. Trade surpluses are key to improving the situation.

“In three or four years we’ll have a positive energy trade balance of $8 billion driven by crude exports,” Royon said at a conference in Toronto.

The government is expecting energy trade to be balanced this year after a long time in the red — including a $5 billion deficit in 2022 — as fuel imports hampered a nation that was once comfortably a net exporter.


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