Total prospecting for shale potential in Argentina

Total plans to drill exploration wells in licence areas this year

Total has carried out similar studies on Argentina's shale gas potential in 2010.
Total has carried out similar studies on Argentina's shale gas potential in 2010.

Total announced recently that it has acquired interests in four exploration licences in Argentina in partnership with YPF, an Argentine energy company, in order to appraise their shale gas potential.

Located in the Neuquén Basin, the licenses were awarded by the provincial authorities for a six-year period. The four new blocks are the latest addition to the Group’s portfolio of assets in Argentina, which includes significant holdings in shale gas play.

Total specifically acquired a 42.5% interest in both the Aguada de Castro and Pampa las Yeguas II licences, which Total will operate.

It will also have a 40% interest in the Cerro Las Minas licence and a 45% interest in the Cerro Partido licence which will be operated by YPF.

Commenting on the transactions, Yves-Louis Darricarrère, president of Total Exploration & Production, said: “These new interests in acreage that is potentially rich in shale gas further strengthen Total’s presence in unconventional gas, a domain in which Total has the ambition to grow significantly.”

The latest transactions follow on from the acquisition of 85% stakes in the La Escalonada and Rincón La Ceniza blocks in the same shale gas play in early 2010. As operator, Total is currently conducting geological, seismic and petrophysical studies in these blocks.

In 2010, the company carried out similar studies on two other long-held blocks that it operates: Aguada Pichana (27.3%) and San Roque (24.7%).

Total is planning to drill exploration wells in 2011 to evaluate the play’s potential.

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