Wintershall in Argentina
Wintershall has been producing hydrocarbons, mainly natural gas, in Argentina for about 40 years, and is the fourth largest gas producer in the country. The company is active in the south off the coast of Tierra del Fuego, as well as in the central Argentinean provinces of Neuquén and Mendoza. In the Neuquén province Wintershall is operator in two blocks: Aguada Federal and Bandurria Norte.
The wholly owned subsidiary Wintershall Energía S.A currently holds working interests in 15 oil and gas fields, and produces about 26 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) annually.
In addition to large conventional resources, Argentina has the second-largest shale gas resources in the world. In terms of shale oil resources, Argentina ranks fourth worldwide. Hence, Argentina is one of the most important growth regions for unconventional resources alongside the USA.
Tierra del Fuego Province Producing gas off the coast
Wintershall has been active in Tierra del Fuego in the south of Argentina since 1979. In 1989, the company began to produce oil from the Hidra field, situated in the Austral Basin in the province of Tierra del Fuego. Wintershall has continuously made efforts to increase the natural gas production from the offshore fields ever since. These improvements have been made possible by applying cutting edge technology combined with high investments.
In 2016, about 19 million cubic meters per day of natural gas were produced from the CMA-1 area, including from the Carina and Aries fields where Wintershall holds a 37.5 percent participation interest. Other partners are Total Austral as operator and Pan American Sur. To mitigate the natural production decline of the fields, new production wells have been drilled in previous years in the Carina field.
Together with Total and Pan American Sur, Wintershall put the new Vega Pléyade gas field, located in the Argentinean Sea off the coast of Tierra del Fuego, into production in February 2016. The Vega Pléyade project, which will significantly contribute to the provision of natural gas to the domestic market, has a daily production capacity of 8.5 million cubic meters. It will help to optimize supplies to the already operating gas processing facilities within the region. The off-shore Vega Pléyade field is a key project for Wintershall in Argentina with reserves amounting to around 25 billion cubic meters of natural gas. The new platform is the southernmost gas producing platform in the world and is connected to the onshore processing installations at Río Cullen on the Tierra del Fuego coast by a 77-km subsea gas-exporting pipeline.
Impressions of the province Tierra del Fuego
Neuquén Province 20 years of experience
Wintershall has been actively involved in the production of conventional natural gas and oil in the Neuquén province for more than 20 years. The company holds shares in the fields San Roque and Aguada Pichana (since 1994), Aguada Federal ( since 2014) and Bandurria Norte (since 2015). In 2017 Aguada Pichana was split into two blocks. Wintershall holds still shares in Aguada Pichana Este. The four neighboring blocks also show potential for shale oil and gas as they lie within the very promising Vaca Muerta formation. Wintershall is now pairing its success gained from decades of conventional production with its acquired knowledge of the geology and underlying conditions to recover hydrocarbons from the attractive, deeper Vaca Muerta formation. Wintershall is therefore conducting exploration and pilot wells with its partners to investigate this potential.
Wintershall holds a 27.3 percent share in the Aguada Pichana Este block in Neuquén province (operator is Total) and a 22.5 percent of the unconventionals part in the block. So far more than 350 wells have been drilled in this block, which extends over 721 km². Natural gas is currently being produced from about 200 of these wells. In 2016, 7.4 million cubic meters of gas were produced daily in the block. This joint venture also started a shale gas pilot project back in 2014: Twelve horizontal wells were spudded with the aim of verifying the presence of natural gas in the Vaca Muerta formation. Currently, gas is being produced from ten wells in this project with promising results.
The 1,040-square-kilometer San Roque block (Wintershall 24.7 percent, operator Total 24.7 percent, YPF 34.1 percent, PAE 16.5 percent) is located north-east of Aguada Pichana. Here about 4 million cubic meters of gas are being recovered daily from about 45 wells. Shale oil drilling started in 2011. In 2017 two additional horizontal wells were drilled.
Wintershall has taken over the operatorship for Aguada Federal and Bandurria Norte. Horizontal wells have been drilled in both projects as part of the pilot phase. Further details about the activities in the operated Aguada Federal and Bandurria Norte blocks can be found on the project pages.
Impressions of the province Neuquén
Mendoza province Wintershall as operator
Adjacent to the province of Neuquén is the province of Mendoza. Geologically, the hydrocarbon-rich Neuquén basin extends over both provinces. In the south of the Mendoza province, Wintershall Energía holds the exploration license for the CN-V block (Wintershall 50%, Geopark 50%). In spring 2013, Wintershall conducted exploration activities in block CN-V with a 3D seismic survey covering 180 km². In 2017, the partners drilled an exploration well in the block - with promising results. The well encountered hydrocarbons within sandstones of the Neuquén group. The well will be tested to further assess the potential of this discovery.