Argentina’s domestic natural gas production has been rising steadily in the past three years, largely because of increasing production from the Neuquén basin’s Vaca Muerta shale and tight gas play. Production from Vaca Muerta surpassed 1.0 Bcfd in December 2018. As production has grown, Argentina has resumed exporting natural gas by pipeline to neighboring Chile and Brazil and has started exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG). Argentina’s first LNG export cargo was shipped on June 6 from the offshore Tango floating liquefaction unit (FLNG).
The growth in Argentina’s shale and tight gas production has partially offset declines in its natural gas production from mature fields. Production from Vaca Muerta accounts for about 23% of Argentina’s total gross natural gas production. The Vaca Muerta shale formation has technically recoverable resources of 308 Tcf of natural gas and 16 Bbbl of oil and condensate within 8.6 million acres, and it is geologically comparable to the Eagle Ford shale play in southern Texas. Only 4% of Vaca Muerta’s acreage has entered the development phase so far.