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 Neuquén and Mendoza, as well as in the south of the coast of Tierra del Fuego. The fully owned subsidiary Wintershall Energía S.A currently holds working interests in 15 oil and gas fields overall and produces some 25 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 with oil production in the Hidra field, situated in the Austral Basin in the province 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. Today, more than 18 million m³ per day of natural gas are recoverd from the CMA-1 area (including the Carina and Aries fields). That equals about 20 percent of total production in Argentina.
Two thirds of the natural gas produced here comes from the Carina and Aries fields, in which Wintershall holds a 37.5% participation interest (other partners are TOTAL (Operator) and Pan American South). To mitigate the natural production decline of the fields new production wells are being drilled since May 2014 in the Carina field.
Wintershall is also currently working on the development of the new field Vega Pleyade in the Argentinean Sea off the coast of Tierra del Fuego together with the operator Total and Pan American South. The start of production from this field is planned for 2016 and will make up for the natural decline in production volumes from the Carina and Aries fields. The offshore field Vega Pleyade is the most important development project for Wintershall in Argentina with reserves of some 25 billion m³ of natural gas.
An additional platform is currently being built for this field in Cadiz in Spain. The maximum capacity of the platform will be ten million m³ of natural gas per day. Following the installation of the production platform off the coast of Tierra del Fuego, a 77-kilometer-long gas export pipeline will be built and up to three horizontal production wells drilled. The new plattform in Vega Pleyade will be the most southern gas producing plattform in the world.
20 years experience in Neuquén province
Wintershall has been active 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) and Bandurria (since 2001). The three neighboring blocks also show interesting potential for shale oil and gas as they lie in the area of the very promising Vaca Muerta formation.
Wintershall is now conducting exploration wells with its partners to investigate this potential of this play. Wintershall holds a share of 27.3 percent in the Aguada Pichana block in Neuquén province (operator is Total 27.3%, YPF 27.3%, PAE 18.1%). So far more than 270 wells have been drilled in this block, which stretches over 1,364 km². Natural gas is being produced from about 200 of these wells today.
For 2015 around ten new wells are planned, most of them targeting tight gas reservoirs.
In 2014 the block has produced on average 7.7 million standard cubic meters of gas and 250 standard cubic meters of condensate daily. In addition, in 2014 a shale gas pilot project consisting in 12 horizontal wells with horizontal sections ranging 1.5 and 2.0 km started drilling in the block targeting the Vaca-Muerta-Formation in the gas window.
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. Six million standard cubic meters of gas and 470 cubic meters of oil are produced daily from about 50 wells. Three wells already produce oil from the Vaca-Muerta-Formation.
Wintershall also has a working interest in the 465-km2 block Bandurria (south of San Roque). The Consortium (Wintershall 27.27%, operator YPF 54.54% and PAE 18.18%) is currently drilling technology wells with the objective to better understand the potential of the block and to determine the best location for a pilot project.
Since 2014, Wintershall has held a share in the Aguada Federal block in the Neuquén province and has been the operator here. In December 2015, this share was increased from 50 to 90 percent. Together with the local state-owned energy company Gas y Petróleo del Neuquén S.A. (GyP), Wintershall wants to investigate the block and if possible develop it further. The block also contains promising shale in the Vaca Muerta formation.
Mendoza province Wintershall as operator
In 2012 Wintershall Energía received two exploration licenses for the blocks CN-V (50% Wintershall) and Ranquil Norte (50% Wintershall, 50% Total) in the south of Mendoza province. Wintershall is the operator of both blocks. In spring 2013 Wintershall conducted the first exploration activities in block CN-V with a 3-D seismic survey of 956 km², and in 2014 a seismic survey of 2232 km² was acquired in Ranquil Norte.