KASSEL, Germany — Wintershall has launched its second operated shale oil pilot project in Argentina (100% working interest). The company has spud the first of three horizontal pilot wells in the Bandurria Norte block, which is located in the western Argentinean province of Neuquén. The wells in the 107-km2 block are targeting the promising shale of the Vaca Muerta formation, which can be found at a depth between 2,700 m and 3,000 m. Wintershall launched a similar project with four horizontal wells in the nearby Aguada Federal block back in 2015. The initial significant results of both projects are expected in 2018.
To date, the activities of Wintershall in Argentina have focussed mainly on recovering hydrocarbons from conventional reservoirs as a non-operator. “Now, however, we are investigating in the blocks Aguada Federal and Bandurria Norte the potential of unconventional reservoirs as an operator,” says Wintershall-CEO Mario Mehren.
“In particular, the Argentinian shale formations are very promising. Wintershall has many years of local experience and technical expertise to help shape the country’s energy future in a responsible manner,” adds Gustavo Albrecht, managing director of Wintershall Energía S.A.
The exploration and production from unconventional reservoirs poses major technological challenges. Nevertheless, Wintershall is ideally equipped to meet these challenges thanks to its decades of experience in the environmentally compatible and efficient recovery of hydrocarbons from complex reservoirs and its unique technological expertise garnered from its tight gas production in Germany.
Argentina’s production has declined significantly over the past decade, and the country has transformed from a net exporter to a net importer of gas. In order to counteract this, the Argentine government is supporting and promoting the expansion of domestic production and, in particular, the development of unconventional reservoirs.