(Reuters) – Argentina has secured financing of $689 million from Brazilian state development bank BNDES for the second stage of a crucial natural gas pipeline in the huge Vaca Muerta shale region, energy secretary Flavia Royon said on Monday.
The pipeline, which will hugely increase the country’s gas transport capacity, will help Argentina “to achieve energy self-sufficiency, deepen regional exports and develop LNG (liquefied natural gas) projects,” Royon told business leaders in the capital Buenos Aires.
The first stage of the gas pipeline, which will link Vaca Muerta in the Patagonian province of Neuquen with the area near capital Buenos Aires, will be finished in June 2023.
Royon added that the country was also in advanced talks for a $540 million loan from CAF Latin American development bank to support the development of the project.
Vaca Muerta, the world’s second largest shale gas reserve and fourth largest for shale oil, is key to Argentina reversing a multi-billion dollar energy trade deficit, with the government targeting eventual exports of LNG.