Argentine company Pampa Energía is set to invest $200 million to develop a pilot shale oil project in Vaca Muerta, the natural gas and electricity company’s first foray into the petroleum sector. The company acquired the entire Rincón de Aranda block in June 2023 through an asset swap with Total Energies SE.
Rincón de Aranda is part of the promising shale oil window of Vaca Muerta—near areas already under development such as Aguada Federal (Vista Energy SAB de CV) and Aguada del Chañar and La Amarga Chica (YPF SA)—and Pampa Energía plans to achieve a production plateau of 20,000 b/d.
The company will develop the 240-sq km block in phases, with Phase 1 expected to be completed in 2 years. Planning includes building two sets of four wells each, along with the necessary plants and infrastructure for processing and transportation.
Horacio Turri, executive director of exploration and production at Pampa, explained during the company’s second-quarter earnings presentation that it “will commence the pilot project in the first quarter of 2024, along with the required surface facilities." The company's chief executive officer, Gustavo Mariani, added, "In the medium term, our goal is also to become a significant player in the oil sector. With Rincón de Aranda, we are diversifying our exploration and production portfolio."
The block was jointly owned by Pampa Energía (55%) and Total Energies SE (45%). In June, the companies agreed to an asset exchange through which Pampa acquired the entire area while the French company's subsidiary received a wind farm.