Argentina Secures Financing for Second Phase of Critical Natural Gas Pipeline System
Argentina secured financing for the second phase of the Néstor Kirchner natural gas pipeline system, the country's energy secretary Flavia Royon said during a conference held in Buenos Aires this week.
According to Royon, the state had secured $689 million in financing from the Brazilian National Development Bank and an additional $540 million from the Latin American development bank Corporacion Andina de Fomento, also known as the CAF.
The pipeline's $1.5 billion first phase, projected to transport 24 million cubic meters/day (MMm3/d), equivalent to about 847 MMcf/d, is expected to be online by June 2023, according to government officials. Royon added that the project's first phase would boost Vaca Muerta's takeaway capacity by about 30%.
The new pipeline will stretch from Tratayén in Neuquén province to Salliqueló in Buenos Aires province, traversing Río Negro and La Pampa provinces along the way. The second phase of the project would include upgrades to the Gasoducto Norte pipeline system, flow reversal, and compression stations in the northern part of the country, enabling Argentina to reduce or completely stop imports from Bolivia.
"In August of this year, unconventional gas production was the highest in our history, representing 56% of the total," she said Royon while highlighting the increasing oil and gas production from the Vaca Muerta shale deposit.
Argentina's gas production increased 5.2% year/year to 139.2 MMm3/d, equivalent to 4.9 Bcf/d in the third quarter, according to the Economy minister. State oil firm YPF SA also recorded a 50% year/year in unconventional oil production and a 20% rise in conventional oil production in the third quarter due to the improvements in the Vaca Muerta region.
Shale oil and gas accounted for 41% of the total production during the third quarter, up from 33.4% recorded in the previous year, with the oil and gas jobs spurred by rising steadily for 13 months to about 100,000.
Royon estimated the set of investments planned for the country's energy sector would be enough to allow Argentina to move from a negative to a positive trade balance of about 4 billion to 8 billion dollars by 2026.