Wintershall in Argentina
Wintershall has been producing hydrocarbons, especially natural gas, in Argentina for more than 35 years and is now the fourth-largest gas producer in the country. The company is active in the central Argentinean provinces of Neuquén and Mendoza, as well as in the south off the coast of Tierra del Fuego. 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.
Tierra del Fuego increase in production
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, which is situated in the Austral Basin in the province of Tierra del Fuego. As a partner, Wintershall has continuously made efforts to increase 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. The other partners are Total, which is the operator, and Pan American Sur. To mitigate the natural decline in production from the fields, new production wells have been drilled in recent 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 up to 8.5 million cubic meters. It will help to optimize supplies to the already operating gas treatment facilities within the region. The Vega Pléyade offshore 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.
in the Vaca Muerta Formation
20 years experience in Neuquén province
Wintershall has been actively involved in the production of conventional natural gas and oil in the Neuquén province for more than 20 years: in the fields San Roque (since 1994), Aguada Pichana (since 1996) Bandurria (since 2001, since 2015 Badurria Norte) and Aguada Federal (since 2014). The four neighboring blocks also show interesting potential for shale oil and gas as they lie within the very promising Vaca Muerta formation.
Wintershall is now conducting exploration and pilot wells with its partners to investigate this potential. Wintershall holds a 27.3 percent share in the Aguada Pichana block in Neuquén province (operator is Total 27.3%, YPF 27.3%, PAE 18.1%). So far more than 350 wells have been drilled in this block, which stretches over 1,364 km². Natural gas is currently being produced from about 200 of these wells.
In 2016, the block produced 7.4 million standard cubic meters of gas per day. In addition, in 2014 a shale gas pilot project consisting of 12 horizontal wells with horizontal sections ranging from 1 to 1.5 kilometers in length started drilling in the block targeting the Vaca Muerta Formation. At present, 13 wells in this project are in production with promising results.
The San Roque block covers an area of 1,040 km² (Wintershall 24.7%, operator Total 24.7%, YPF 34.1%, PAE 16.5%) and is situated north-east of Aguada Pichana. Here about 4.5 million cubic meters of gas are produced daily from about 50 wells. In July 2015, Wintershall took over the operatorship of the Bandurria Norte block (100% shareholding) in the Neuquén province. Winterhall is also currently planning another shale oil pilot project here and the completion of one already existing well.
Since 2014, Wintershall has held a participation interest in the Aguada Federal block in the Neuquén province and is the operator here. In December 2015, this interest was increased from 50 to 90 percent. Ten percent is held by the local state-owned energy company, Gas y Petróleo del Neuquén S.A. (GyP), with whom Wintershall wants to investigate the block and if possible develop it further. It is believed that the block also contains promising shale in the Vaca Muerta formation.
Mendoza province Wintershall as operator
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 preliminary exploration activities in block CN-V with a 3D seismic survey covering 180 km².