September 25, 2019

Wintershall DEA said that the company is today at the starting gate for development in Vaca Muerta, in the Neuquen Basin of Argentina. The pilot wells in the operated shale oil blocks Aguada Federal and Bandurria Norte in the promising Vaca Muerta formation demonstrate very promising oil productivity. “We have completed the drilling and stimulation part of the pilot phase in our operated blocks Bandurria Norte and Aguada Federal and now gear up for field development,” says Manfred Boeckmann, Managing Director of Wintershall Dea Argentina. Wintershall Dea operates acreage in the highly prolific Vaca Muerta shale formation and has significantly contributed to oil and gas production in Argentina for several decades.
“Just maintaining the status quo has never been an option for Wintershall Dea: in Argentina we have successfully managed the transition from an active partner role to an operating company,” says Thilo Wieland, Member of the Management Board of Wintershall Dea and responsible for Argentina. “In Aguada Federal and Bandurria Norte we are now demonstrating our expertise as an operator.”
In July Wintershall Dea and ConocoPhillips signed a Sales and Purchase Agreement to jointly develop the Aguada Federal and Bandurria Norte blocks in the central Argentine province of Neuquén. The blocks hold significant unconventional oil resources of the Vaca Muerta shale formation. The two companies are now planning the development of the two prospective blocks. The development programme is expected to start mid-2020. In the first phase it is planned to drill about 20 to 30 wells. Wintershall Dea has successfully conducted pilot projects in both blocks and wells are now on extended production testing.
“The project is progressing well, and we have seen very encouraging results. We at Wintershall Dea have gone through a learning curve and costs have come down significantly,” says Boeckmann. “However, in order to safeguard a sustainable development of Vaca Muerta at scale, a more competitive regulatory framework, improvements of infrastructure, access to new markets, and more competitive cost structure and tax regime are required. We still have a long way to go, but we are on a good path.”
Besides being active in the promising Vaca Muerta formation, Wintershall Dea is now venturing into a further upstream theme: in May 2019 the company got awarded two blocks in the Malvinas basin together with its partners Tullow and Pluspetrol.
(Source and image: Wintershall DEA – Seismic crew in the Neuquen province of Argentina)