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The country’s president described the measure as one with “very great ambition.”

By Daniel Graeber

Argentine president Alberto Fernandez said September 15 the government should put its maximum effort behind increasing domestic oil and gas production.

The government sent a bill to the national congress that promotes investments in a bid to boost production from the Vaca Muerta shale formation.

This is a deal with a “very great ambition” that gives “maximum impetus to oil and gas activity,” the president said.

The measure aims to promote exploration and production to the point that Argentina can export its oil and gas reserves in order to bring more dollars into an economy buckling under a hefty debt burden from the IMF.

Argentine energy company YPF said in March that $1.5bn in investments would target operations in Neuquen province, near the western border with Chile, and boost production from the Vaca Muerta shale by 56% for oil and 70% for unconventional natural gas.

Spanning an estimated 7.5mn acres in total, the Vaca Muerta shale basin is among the largest in the world. Research from the US Energy Information Administration finds the basin holds 308 trillion ft3 of natural gas and 16bn barrels of oil and condensate.

Argentina envisions export potential from an LNG terminal that will put Vaca Muerta reserves on the international market. The terminal could have an initial liquefaction capacity of 5mn mt/yr, rising to 10mn mt/yr under a potential second stage.