Vaca Muerta Shale Argentina

A YPF graphic shows unconventional oil and gas reserves in provinces like Neuquen and Mendoza.

Nine months after signing an agreement with YPF to explore oil and gas resources in Argentina’s Neuquen province, Chevron (NYSE: CVX) just announced an expanded drilling plan for the Vaca Muerta shale formation.

“Chevron Will Drill 140 Wells In Vaca Muerta This Year” is the headline of iProfesional’s summary of the Chevron announcement which includes the California-based company’s outlook for oil and gas prices and production worldwide.

According to Oil & Gas Journal, the Chevron-YPF pilot program originally envisioned drilling 100 wells over a 5,000-acre tract when first announced last July. The upward revision in Argentine drilling activity may have something to do with recent drilling success at Vaca Muerta.

In an interview with Proactive Investors, research analyst Bill Newman says Chevron now has “a very nice well” in the El Trapial block “producing at significant rates.” That news comes on the heels of YPF’s positive earnings report last week showing a 45% increase in 2013 profit, an 88% increase in 4Q13 profit, and an 11% increase in reserves thanks in large part to Vaca Muerta production.

Just two years ago, Argentine headlines lamented the fact that YPF had discovered 350 million barrels of unconventional oil in Vaca Muerta but lacked the financial resources to extract them. That doesn’t appear to be the case anymore. (Full Story in Spanish)

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