Details behind Statoil’s latest shale oil expansion

By Luke Geiver | September 05, 2017

Statoil’s presence in shale grew this year, but not in North America. Although the company already has operations in the Williston Basin and the Eagle Ford along with partnerships that link it to the Marcellus, the oil major announced this month a plan to venture into Argentina.

Through a 50 percent working interest with YPF—Argentina’s main energy company—Statoil will attempt to further develop the Vaca Muerta formation located in the Neuquen Basin. Through the partnership, the light, tight oil and gas trapped in the formation will be the goal of retrieval efforts.

Tim Dodson, executive vice president for exploration at Statoil, called the project a world-class light oil exploration effort of an unconventional resource play.

Details of the exploration effort are as follows:

-Statoil and YPF each hold 50 percent interest.

-Bajo del Toro exploration permit covers an area of 38,800 acres in west central part of Argentina.

-Vaca Muerta formation is the main geologic target.

-In 2016, Statoil signed a technical study agreement with YPF to map exploration opportunities near continental slope off coast of Argentina.

-Vaca Muerta is roughly 1.5 miles below the surface and holds both tight oil and shale gas.

-U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates the formation holds 16.2 Bbbl of tight oil.

-Oil development in the region has been taking place since the 1920s.