WASHINGTON: Despite its estimated 802 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of unproved, technically recoverable shale gas resources, Argentina’s dry natural gas production declined each year from 2006 to 2014, and the country has shifted from a net exporter of natural gas to a net importer. In 2015, natural gas production increased for the first time since 2006, as ongoing efforts to increase production from key shale gas areas in Argentina aimed to reduce its imports of natural gas.
Once one of the largest natural gas exporters in South America, Argentina was a net importer of natural gas by 2008. Imports, which accounted for 23% of Argentina’s natural gas consumption in 2015, came by pipeline from countries such as Bolivia and, to a lesser extent, as liquefied natural gas (LNG) from sources such as Trinidad and Tobago. The Argentinian government hopes to stop importing LNG by 2022.
Argentina is the third country in the world, after the United States and Canada, to commercially develop tight oil and shale gas. Argentina’s Vaca Muerta formation within the Neuquen Basin has an estimated 308 Tcf of technically recoverable shale gas resources. Vaca Muerta’s geologic properties have been compared to the Eagle Ford play near the Gulf of Mexico in Texas in terms of its depth, thickness, pressure, and mineral composition.