U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry with G20 energy ministers at the G20 Argentina meeting, 15 June 2018. Photo: Rick Perry

By Joseph Siess
17 September 2018

(DeSmogBlog) – In June, U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry traveled to Bariloche, Argentina, for a G20 Summit where he expressed his desire to help Argentina become more like Texas, his home state.

“The technology that has allowed for the shale gas revolution in America, we want to make available to Argentina,” Perry said.

At the summit, which was intended to focus on a transition to cleaner energy, Perry instead pledged the U.S. Department of Energy’s support in helping Argentina exploit its vast fossil fuel resources. Namely by connecting the nation with U.S. companies that know how to extract shale oil and gas via hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

But DOE isn’t the only part of the U.S. government facilitating fracking in Argentina. Under the Trump administration, the Departments of Interior and State — working closely with Pennsylvania State University — have been involved in multiple workshops focused on developing shale oil and gas in the South American nation.

The main target for fracking in Argentina is Vaca Muerta (translated as “Dead Cow”), one of the world’s largest unconventional oil and gas deposits, located in the Neuquén Basin. The oil and gas industry has been eyeing this formation in west-central Argentina since its existence was announced in 2011.

Argentine president Mauricio Macri wants to crack open Vaca Muerta to offset the mammoth amounts of natural gas the country currently imports. In the past five years, Argentina’s state oil company, YPF, has been involved with drilling more than 800 oil and gas wells there, including over a quarter using horizontal drilling and fracking, according to YPF’s Marcos Browne.

A recent statement issued by the government indicated that Argentina plans to double shale gas production in five years.

“We see a bright future for natural gas, and we see YPF soon becoming an international player in the natural gas arena,” predicted Browne.

YPF is collaborating in Vaca Muerta with multinational oil and gas companies such as Total, Shell, ExxonMobil, and Chevron, all of which have made sizeable investments in the megaproject. In just the last year, operators have committed $6 billion to Vaca Muerta, according to Amanda Kupchella, a research analyst at Wood Mackenzie. [more]

Trump Admin Accelerates Push to Export Fracking to Argentina



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