Vaca Muerta

The Vaca Muerta Formation, commonly known as the Vaca Muerta (Spanish for Dead Cow) is a geologic formation of Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous age, located in the Neuquén Basin in northern Patagonia, Argentina. It is well known as the host rock for major deposits of shale oil and shale gas.

The large oil discovery in the Vaca Muerta Formation was made in 2010 by the former Repsol-YPF, which announced the discovery in May 2011.[1] The total proven reserves are around 927 million barrels (147.4×106 m3), and YPF's production alone is nearly 45,000 barrels per day (7,200 m3/d).[2][3][4] In February 2012, Repsol YPF SA raised its estimate of oil reserves to 22.5 billion barrels (3.58×109 m3).[5][6] The US EIA estimates total recoverable hydrocarbons from this Vaca Muerta Formation to be 16.2 billion barrels (2.58×109 m3) of oil and 308 trillion cubic feet (8.7×1012 m3) of natural gas, more than even the Neuquén Basin's hydrocarbon-rich Middle Jurassic Los Molles Formation holds.[7]

Vaca Muerta Formation
Stratigraphic range: Tithonian-Berriasian
~148–140 Ma
TypeGeological formation
Unit ofMendoza Group
UnderliesMulichinco Fm., Quintuco Fm., Picún Leufú Fm.
OverliesTordillo Formation
Thickness30–1,200 m (98–3,937 ft)
OtherOrganic shale, lime-mudstone
Coordinates38°12′0″S 69°30′0″W / 38.20000°S 69.50000°W
RegionNeuquén Province
Country Argentina
Extent>30,000 km2 (12,000 sq mi)
Type section
Named byCharles E. Weaver
LocationSalado River valley
Year defined1931
Country Argentina
EIA Neuquen Basin

Hydrocarbon source rock maturity (Ro %) of the Vaca Muerta. Huincul basement high is shown in grey.


Vaca Muerta Stratigraphy
Stratigraphy of the Vaca Muerta Formation

The Vaca Muerta Shale is a continuous tight oil and shale gas reservoir of Late Jurassic (Tithonian) and Early Cretaceous (Berriasian) age. The formation covers a total area of 30,000 square kilometres (12,000 sq mi).[8] The shale is at a depth of about 9,500 feet (2,900 m), where it has been found productive of oil and gas. Although called a shale, and with a total organic carbon content varying from 1 percent to 5 percent, the Vaca Muerta is predominately marl and consists of mature black shales, marls and lime mudstones.[9][10] Formed in a marine environment with little clay and brittle rock, the deposit is 30 to 1,200 metres (98 to 3,937 ft) (usually over 400 metres (1,300 ft)) thick, extending throughout the basin.[10][11]

Although the name Vaca Muerta Formation was introduced to the geological literature in 1931 by American geologist Charles E. Weaver, the highly bituminous shales in the Salado River valley in southern Mendoza were described in 1892 by Dr. Guillermo Bodenbender. German paleontologists Beherendsen and Steuer determined the Tithonian age of these shales.[12] In several outcrop locations, the Vaca Muerta Formation has been the site of paleontological finds: the crocodylomorph Cricosaurus and possibly Geosaurus, the ichthyosaur Caypullisaurus, and the pterosaurs Herbstosaurus and Wenupteryx.

The Vaca Muerta Formation represents the most distal facies of the Lower Mendoza Mesosequence, a Tithonian–Valanginian broad shallowing-upward sedimentary cycle.[13] In the southern part of the Neuquén Basin the Lower Mendoza Mesosequence includes the basinal deposits of the Vaca Muerta Formation (early to middle Tithonian), which to the south-southeast change to mixed carbonate-siliciclastic nearshore deposits of the Carrin Cura Formation (lower part of the middle Tithonian) and Picún Leufú Formation (middle Tithonian – lower Berriasian), and to continental deposits of the Bajada Colorada Formation of Tithonian – Berriasian age.[14][15][16] In the central part of the Neuquén Basin, also known as Neuquén embayment, the Lower Mendoza Mesosequence consists of basinal deposits of the Vaca Muerta Formation (early to upper Tithonian), which to the east change to shoreface deposits of the Quintuco Formation (upper Tithonian – lower Valanginian), and to sabkha deposits of the Loma Montosa Formation (lower Valanginian), forming a mixed carbonate-siliciclastic depositional system.[17][18] Westward the Vaca Muerta Formation includes slope facies (Huncal Member), and in the Chilean territory pass into shallow marine/volcanic deposits.[19][20][21] By contrast, in the southern Mendoza area the Lower Mendoza Mesosequence consists of aggradational and divergent sequences, with a maximum thickness of 500 metres (1,600 ft) towards the center of the basin.[13] It includes basinal to middle carbonate ramp deposits of the Vaca Muerta Formation (early Tithonian – early Valanginian) and middle to inner ramp oyster-deposits of the Chachao Formation (early Valanginian), which form an homoclinal carbonate ramp system.[22][23][24] Westward, undated tidal to continental mixed deposits have been recognized and correlated with the Vaca Muerta and Chachao Formations, receiving the name of Lindero de Piedra Formation.[25]

Oil and gas exploration and production

Vaca Muerta
Vaca Muerta is located in Argentina
Vaca Muerta
Location of Vaca Muerta
RegionNeuquén Province
Coordinates38°12′0″S 69°30′0″W / 38.20000°S 69.50000°WCoordinates: 38°12′0″S 69°30′0″W / 38.20000°S 69.50000°W
Field history
Start of development2011
Start of production2011
Current production of oil45,000 barrels per day (~2.2×106 t/a)
Estimated oil in place126 million tonnes
(~ 147×106 m3 or 927 MMbbl)
Producing formationsVaca Muerta

The Vaca Muerta Shale has long been known as a major petroleum source rock for other formations in the Neuquén Basin, which has had oil production since 1918.[12] Wells producing from the Vaca Muerta itself are in several oil fields, including the Loma La Lata, Loma Lata Norte,[26] and Loma Campana fields.

Repsol-YPF recognized the productive potential of the Vaca Muerta Shale of the Neuquén Basin, and completed Argentina's first shale gas well in July 2010, at the Loma La Lata field. Then in November 2010, the company completed a tight oil well in the Vaca Muerta Shale in the Loma Campana area. The first horizontal well in the Vaca Muerta was drilled and completed in August 2011. By October 2012, 31 wells had been drilled and completed, and another 20 had been drilled and were waiting completion. The drilling had extended the Vaca Muerta producing extent to an area of at least 300 square kilometres (120 sq mi).[11]

One problem in attracting development was Argentina's price controls on natural gas, keeping the price down to US$2.00-$2.50 per million BTU. However, the government exempted tight gas from controls, and in 2011 the Vaca Muerta gas was selling for US$4–$7. The higher gas prices attracted major oil companies, including ExxonMobil, Total S.A.,[27] and Chevron Corporation to Vaca Muerta.[28] In September 2016, after the change of government in Argentina, YPF said that proposed new rates for gas would permit the continued development of gas in Vaca Muerta.[29] In May 2013, YPF announced that it had negotiated a joint venture in which Chevron would invest US$1.5 billion drilling 132 wells on the Loma Campana field.[30][31][32] Chevron's participation was complicated by efforts by the plaintiffs who obtained a judgement in Ecuador with respect to actions by Texaco in the Lago Agrio oil field to collect the judgement from Chevron's Argentine assets.[33] On September 24, 2013, YPF announced that Dow Chemical Company subsidiary Dow Argentina had signed an agreement to drill 16 natural gas wells in the El Orejano block of the Vaca Muerta formation over a 12-month period, with Dow contributing US$120,000,000 and YPF US$68,000,000.[34] Shell Argentina CEO Juan Jose Aranguren was quoted on December 10, 2013, as saying his company, with 4 producing wells in Vaca Muerta and 2 more drilling, would increase capital spending in Argentine shale to "about" US$500 million in 2014 from US$170 million in 2013.[35] Luis Sapag, of the Sapag family which has dominated Neuquén politics for half a century, was reported by Bloomberg in December 2013 as saying that the YPF-Chevron joint venture would invest as much as US$16 billion if the US$1.2 billion pilot venture was successful by March 2014, which would generate almost US$9 billion in royalties for Neuquén.[36] In January 2015 YPF indicated that it and Chevron had already invested over US$3 billion in their Loma Campana venture, which YPF described as the most important unconventional (oil) project in the world outside the United States.[37]

Developments as of 2014

In February 2014, Archer Ltd. announced it had an "approximately US$400 million" contract with YPF to provide "five new built drilling rigs to support YPF's development of unconventional shale resources in the Neuquén area in Argentina."[38] On February 18 of the same year, YPF announced that it had signed an memorandum of understanding with PETRONAS, the Malaysian state oil company, on a possible investment (agreed upon in the following August; see below) in the 187 square kilometer Amarga Chica zone of the Vaca Muerta formation; YPF also indicated that its current production in Vaca Muerta was over 20,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day from over 150 fracked wells using 19 fracking drill rigs.[3] Helmerich & Payne disclosed on March 5, 2014, that it had contracted with YPF to deploy 10 drill rigs under five-year contracts from the United States to Argentina between the third quarter of 2014 and the first quarter of 2015 to work in the Vaca Muerta play in addition to the nine rigs Helmerich & Payne already had in the country.[39] On April 10, 2014, Miguel Gallucio of YPF announced that Chevron had decided to continue its partnership with YPF in the "massive development" of Vaca Muerta; the US$1.24 billion pilot program financed by Chevron and ended in March had developed 161 fracked wells in a 20 square kilometer area. The new phase would frack 170 additional wells that year with a joint investment of over US$1.6 billion, with YPF continuing as operator. The goal agreed upon for future years would be to develop an area of 395 square kilometers with over 1500 fracked wells producing over 50,000 barrels of oil and 3 million cubic meters (over 100 million cubic feet) of natural gas a day. Chevron and YPF also agreed on a US$140,000,000, four-year exploration project to drill and analyze 7 vertical and 2 horizontal wells in a 200 square kilometer area (Narambuena) in the Chihuido de la Sierra Negra concession, to be financed by Chevron with YPF as operator.[40] In an interview with the Argentine newspaper La Nación published September 14, 2014, Gallucio indicated that production in the Loma Campana field had reached 31,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day.[41] On October 8, 2014, Argentine Industry Minister Débora Georgi reported that YPF had signed a confidential agreement in principle with Gazprom that could lead to a US$1 billion investment in gas exploration and production "in Argentina"; YPF denied the report, but did sign a memorandum on cooperation with Gazprom in April 2015.[42][43] In January 2015 YPF and Sinopec signed a memorandum of understanding for future cooperation in both conventional and unconventional petroleum development; they indicated that Sinopec Argentina Exploration and Production S.A. was already doing due diligence on exploration and development in "certain areas" of Vaca Muerta together with YPF.[37] In April 2015, Gallucio stated that production in the Loma Campana field had reached 44,000-45,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day.[44] In June 2015, YPF announced a new discovery in Vaca Muerta, this time in the La Ribera I block, with an initial output of 43,000 cubic meters (over 1 1/2 million cubic feet) of gas a day.[45] In November 2015, YPF indicated that production from Vaca Muerta was 54,000 barrels of oil equivalent daily, with 47,000 from Loma Campana; it also indicated that Chevron had invested US$2,500,000,000 over the last two years.[46] YPF showed production for the third quarter of 2016 at 58,200 barrels of oil equivalent daily from 522 wells, with 11 rigs working.[47]


Vaca Muerta is divided into different development blocks. Consortium of YPF (50%) and Chevron (50%) develops General Enrique Mosconi concession, including Loma La Lata Norte and Loma Campana fields.[48][49] Consortium of Petrobras (55%, operator) and Total S.A. (45%) develops the Rincon de Aranda concession.[50] The Los Toldos blocks are developed by the consortium of Americas Petrogas (45%, operator of the blocks), ExxonMobil (45%) and Gas y Petroleo del Neuquén (10%).[51] Consortium of Shell (65%, operator) Medanito (25%) and Gas y Petroleo del Neuquén (10%) develops Águila Mora and Sierras Blancas areas.[52] Consortium of Wintershall (50%, operator) and Gas y Petroleo del Neuquén (50%) develops the Aguada Federal block.[53] The Bandurria block was formerly a joint venture of Pan American Energy, YPF, and Wintershall; it has now been split into three blocks, with Wintershall as operator of Bandurria Norte, Pan American Energy as operator of Bandurria Centro, and YPF as operator of Bandurria Sur. YPF indicated in July 2015 that it planned to drill 20 wells in Bandurria Sur with the goal of beginning shale oil production within three years at a cost of US$282.2 million.[54] ExxonMobil is the operator of the Bajo del Choique and La Invernada blocks and has an 85% working interest in them, with Gas y Petroleo del Neuquén holding the remaining 15%; they announced their first discovery on the former block in May 2014, and their first discovery on the latter in the following December.[55][56] YPF and the Malaysian state oil company PETRONAS signed an agreement on August 28, 2014, whereby PETRONAS would receive a 50% interest together with YPF in return for contributing US$475 million as part of a three-year, US$550 million, pilot project of development in the Amarga Chica block, with YPF as operator.[57] In November 2016 YPF and PETRONAS announced that they had spent US$165 million drilling 9 wells in the initial phase of Amarga Chica development, and that they had agreed to move to a second stage where they would spend another US$192.5 million on drilling 10 horizontal wells and constructing surface facilities.[47] The El Orejano block, which (as mentioned above) YPF and Dow Argentina agreed to develop in 2013, was producing 750,000 cubic meters of shale gas (nearly 26 1/2 million cubic feet) daily from a total of 19 wells by December 2015; Dow and YPF agreed to invest another US$500 million in 2016 on top of the US$350 million already invested, and drill 30 more wells in order to triple that output.[58] In January 2016, Aubrey McClendon's American Energy Partners, LP, and YPF announced a preliminary agreement for the development of two more blocks, at a cost of over US$500 million in the next three years: Bajada de Añelo and the southern zone of Cerro Arena, the latter together with Pluspetrol and Gas y Petróleo del Neuquén; an affiliate of American Energy Partners would acquire up to a 50% participation in both.[59] Also Madalena Ventures, Azabache, and Tecpetrol participate in exploration and production.[60] Apache Corporation was active in the Vaca Muerta in 2012-2013,[7] but agreed to sell all its Argentine assets to YPF for US$800 million in an agreement signed February 12, 2014.[61]

See also


  1. ^ Krauss, Clifford (2011-07-04). "Argentina Hopes for a Big Payoff in Its Shale Oil Field Discovery". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  2. ^ Canty, Daniel (2011-11-08). "Repsol hails largest ever 927 million bbl oil find". Arabian Oil and Gas. Retrieved 2011-12-26.
  3. ^ a b, "YPF firmo un acuerdo con PETRONAS", 18.02.2014
  4. ^ Attwood, James (2014-12-16). "Shale Veteran Takes On Argentina's $6 Billion Shortfall". Bloomberg.
  5. ^ "". Retrieved 2012-04-13.
  6. ^ "Repsol YPF Mb50's "Liquid Mud" Blog". Retrieved 2012-04-13.
  7. ^ a b "Technically Recoverable Shale Oil and Shale Gas Resources: An Assessment of 137 Shale Formations in 41 Countries Outside the United States" (PDF). U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). June 2013. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  8. ^ Badkar, Mamta (2012-04-27). "Everything You Need To Know About Vaca Muerta, One Of The Biggest Shale Fields Outside Of North America". Business Insider. Retrieved 2014-02-18.
  9. ^ Badessich, Matías Fernandez; Berrios, Vicente (8–10 October 2012). Integrated Dynamic Flow Analysis to Characterize an Unconventional Reservoir in Argentina: The Loma La Lata Case (PDF). SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition. San Antonio: Society of Petroleum Engineers. SPE156163. Retrieved 2014-03-10.
  10. ^ a b Peters, Kenneth E.; Walters, Clifford C.; Moldowan, J. Michael (2005). The Biomarker Guide: Biomarkers and isotopes in petroleum systems and Earth history. 2. Cambridge University Press. p. 894. ISBN 9780521837620.
  11. ^ a b Carol Cain McGowen, "Argentina's Vaca Muerta draws GTW spotlight" AAPG Explorer, Jan. 2013.
  12. ^ a b Leanza, Héctor A. (2–4 December 2012). The Vaca Muerta Formation (Late Jurassic—Early Cretaceous): History, Stratigraphic Context and Events of this Emblematic Unit of the Neuquén Basin, Argentina. AAPG Geoscience Technology Workshop. Buenos Aires: AAPG. Retrieved 2014-02-18.
  13. ^ a b Legarreta, L., Gulisano, C.A., 1989. Análisis estratigráfico secuencial de la Cuenca Neuquina (Triásico superior- Terciario inferior, Argentina). In: Chebli, G., Spalletti, L.A., (Eds.), Cuencas Sedimentarias Argentinas. Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Serie Correlación Geológica 6, p. 221–243
  14. ^ Leanza, H.A., 1973. Estudio sobre los cambios faciales de los estratos limítrofes Jurásico-Cretácicos entre Loncopué y Picun Leufú, Provincia del Neuquén, República Argentina. Revista de la Asociación Geológica Argentina 28, 97–132.
  15. ^ Spalletti, L.A., Franzese, J.R., Matheos, S.D. and Schwarz, E. (2000) Sequence stratigraphy of a tidally dominated carbonate-siliciclastic ramp; the Tithonian-Early Berriasian of the Southern Neuquén Basin, Argentina. Geological Society of London, Special Publication 157, pp. 433–446.
  16. ^ Leanza, H. A., Sattler, F., Martinez, R., Carbone, O., 2011. La Formación Vaca Muerta y Equivalentes (Jurásico Tardío – Cretácico Temprano) en la Cuenca. Neuquina. In: Leanza, H.A., Arregui, C., Carbone, O., Daniela, J.C., Vallés, J.M. (Eds.), Geología y Recursos Naturales de la Provincia del Neuquén, Neuquén, 113–129.
  17. ^ Gulisano, C.A., Gutiérrez Pleimling, A.R., Digregorio, R.E., 1984. Análisis estratigráfico del intervalo Tithoniano-Valanginiano (Formaciones Vaca Muerta, Quintuco y Mulichinco) en el suroeste de la provincia de Neuquén. 9 Congreso Geológico Argentino, Actas 1, 221–235.
  18. ^ Mitchum, R.M., Uliana, M.A., 1985. Seismic stratigraphy of carbonate depositional sequences, Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous. Neuquén Basin, Argentina. In: Berg, R.B., Woolverton, D.G. (Eds.), Seismic Stratigraphy: An Integrated Approach to Hydrocarbon Exploration. AAPG Memoir 39, 255–274.
  19. ^ Leanza, H.A., Hugo, C.A., Repol, D., Salvarredy Aranguren, M., 2003. El Miembro Huncal (Berriasiano inferior): un episodio turbidítico en la Formación Vaca Muerta, Cuenca Neuquina, Argentina. Revista de la Asociación Geológica Argentina 58, 248–254.
  20. ^ Kietzmann, D.A., Vennari, V.V., 2013. Sedimentología y estratigrafía de la Formación Vaca Muerta (Tithoniano-Berriasiano) en el área del cerro Domuyo, norte de Neuquén, Argentina. Andean Geology 40, 41–65.
  21. ^ Spalletti, L. A., G. D. Veiga, E. Schwarz, and J. Franzese, 2008, Depósitos de flujos gravitacionales subácueos de sedimentos en el flanco activo de la Cuenca Neuquina durante el Cretácico Temprano: Revista de la Asociación Geológica Argentina, v. 63, 442–453.
  22. ^ Kietzmann, D.A., Palma, R.M., Bressan, G.S., 2008. Facies y microfacies de la rampa tithoniana-berriasiana de la Cuenca Neuquina (Formación Vaca Muerta) en la sección del arroyo Loncoche – Malargüe, provincia de Mendoza. Revista de la Asociación Geológica Argentina 63, 696–713.
  23. ^ Kietzmann, D.A., Martín-Chivelet, J., Palma, R.M., López-Gómez, J., Lescano, M., Concheyro, A., 2011a. Evidence of precessional and eccentricity orbital cycles in a Tithonian source rock: the mid-outer carbonate ramp of the Vaca Muerta Formation, Northern Neuquén Basin, Argentina. AAPG Bulletin 95, 1459–1474.
  24. ^ Kietzmann, D.A., Palma, R.M., Riccardi, A.C., Martín-Chivelet, J., López-Gómez, J., 2014. Sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy of a Tithonian-Valanginian carbonate ramp (Vaca Muerta Formation): a misunderstood exceptional source rock in the Southern Mendoza area of the Neuquén Basin, Argentina. Sedimentary Geology 302, 64–86.
  25. ^ Legarreta, L., Kozlowski, E., Boll, A., 1981. Esquema estratigráfico y distribución de facies del Grupo Mendoza en el ámbito surmendocino de la cuenca neuquina. 8º Congreso Geológico Argentino, Actas 3, 389–409.
  26. ^ Loma Lata Norte
  27. ^ Exploration Production - Vaca Muerta - Total
  28. ^ Scott L. Weeden, "Argentina's shale-gas plays bring back majors," E&P Magazine, 3 Oct. 2011.
  29. ^ (in Spanish) Tarifas de gas
  30. ^ Grazina, Karina (2013-05-15). "Chevron agrees terms of Argentina shale investment: YPF". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-02-18.
  31. ^ "YPF, Chevron sign deal on Vaca Muerta". Buenos Aires Herald. 2013-05-15. Retrieved 2013-05-17.
  32. ^ "Chevron says shale to help make Argentina energy independent". Bloomberg. 2013-05-16. Retrieved 2014-02-18.
  33. ^ Pablo Gonzalez (June 5, 2013). "Chevron Argentina Asset Freeze Revoked Easing Shale Venture". Bloomberg. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
  34. ^ (in Spanish) Firma Dow
  35. ^ "Shell to Triple Argentine Shale Spending as Winds Change". Bloomberg. 2013-12-10.
  36. ^ "Dirty Oilmen Get Clean Sheets Every 12 Hours: Argentina Credit". Bloomberg. 2013-12-17.
  37. ^ a b (in Spanish) YPF y Sinopec firman un MOU para desarrollar nuevos proyectos de petroleo y gas en el país
  38. ^ Archer secures drilling contract with YPF S.A. in Argentina
  39. ^ 03/05/14, "Helmerich & Payne Announces Contract Awards in Argentina"
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^ (in Spanish) YPF desmintió a Debora Giorgi sobre la firma del acuerdo de confidencialidad con la empresa rusa Gazprom
  43. ^ "UPDATE 2-Russia deepens energy cooperation with Argentina". Reuters. 2015-04-23.
  44. ^ Bronstein, Hugh (2015-04-09). "UPDATE 3-Argentina's Vaca Muerta shale output rises to 45,000 bpd". Reuters.
  45. ^ (in Spanish) YPF anuncia un nievo descubrimiento de gas no convencional en Neuquén
  46. ^ (in Spanish) YPF informa
  47. ^ a b (in Spanish) Acuerdo de continuidad YPF-Petronas
  48. ^ Lifschitz, Alejandro; Grazina, Karina (2013-07-16). "Chevron, Argentina's YPF sign $1.24 billion Vaca Muerta shale deal". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-02-18.
  49. ^ "Campo Loma Campana". BNamericas. Retrieved 2014-02-18.
  50. ^ "Petrobras finds unconventional petroleum in Argentina's Vaca Muerta shale deposits". MercoPress. 2013-12-04. Retrieved 2014-02-18.
  51. ^ "Americas Petrogas Makes New Vaca Muerta Shale Exploration Discovery-Gas and Liquids" (Press release). Americas Petrogas. 2013-04-07. Retrieved 2014-02-18.
  52. ^ "Shell joins shale hunt in Argentina". Argus Media. 2011-12-15. Retrieved 2014-02-18.
  53. ^ "Germany's Wintershall joins Patagonia's Vaca Muerta shale gas and oil rush". MercoPress. 2014-01-08. Retrieved 2014-02-18.
  54. ^ Shale fields to get $14 billion boost
  55. ^ ExxonMobil discovers oil and gas in Argentina
  56. ^ Exxon makes second discovert in Argentina's Vaca Muerta
  57. ^ (in Spanish) Acuerdo YPF-Petronas
  58. ^ (in Spanish) Acuerdo YPF y Dow
  59. ^ (in Spanish) "Acuerdo con American Energy Partners para Vaca Muerta".
  60. ^ "Argentina's YPF sees 1,181 TCF shale gas in Vaca Muerta". Reuters. 2013-07-24. Retrieved 2014-02-18.
  61. ^ (in Spanish)"YPF adquiere los activos de Apache".

External links

  • Vaca Muerta in the Encyclopedia of Science and Technology in Argentina
2017 in Argentina

The following lists events that happened in Argentina in 2017.

Agrio Formation

The Agrio Formation is an Early Cretaceous geologic formation that is up to 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) thick and is located in the southern Mendoza Province and northern-central Neuquén Province, in the Neuquén Basin of northwestern Patagonia, Argentina. This formation is the youngest one of the Mendoza Group, overlying the Mulichinco and Bajada Colorada Formations and overlain by the Huitrín and La Amarga Formations. It is dated to the Late Valanginian to Early Hauterivian, Late Valanginian to Early Barremian, or Hauterivian to earliest Aptian.The Agrio Formation is considered the third most important source rock in the hydrocarbon-rich Neuquén Basin, after the Vaca Muerta Formation and Los Molles Formation. Similarly to these older units, it is potentially a source of shale gas.

This formation has provided fossils of ichthyosaurs, ammonites, gastropods, bivalves, decapods, echinoderm, corals and fish. The newly described species of fish, Tranawuen agrioensis, the ammonite Holcoptychites agrioensis, and the bivalve Pholadomya agrioensis have been named after the formation.

Americas Petrogas

Americas Petrogas Inc is a Canadian-based exploration and oil production company focused in Argentina's Neuquén Basin where it is one of the largest land owners, with 960,000 net acres spread over 12 large blocks of which 9 blocks are located in the Vaca Muerta shale corridors. Recently, Ryder Scott Company petroleum engineers assessed the Company with 7.6 Billion BOE P50 Best Case Unrisked Prospective (Recoverable) Shale Resources (Lower Agrio, Vaca Muerta, Los Molles). Americas Petrogas was sought out by ExxonMobil and others, to partner on its shale blocks. Subsequently, Americas Petrogas entered into a joint venture with ExxonMobil on 4 of its 9 shale blocks with Americas Petrogas retaining Operatorship. Together the partners have announced 3 successful Vaca Muerta discoveries.

Subsidiary GrowMax Agri Corp is exploring and developing a large phosphate and potash and carnallite fertilizer project in Northern Peru's Sechura Desert adjacent to Vale's Bayovar surface phosphate mine. Vale's partners in this venture include Mitsui and Mosaic.


Caypullisaurus is an extinct genus of large platypterygiine ophthalmosaurid ichthyosaur from the Late Jurassic to the Early Cretaceous (Tithonian and Berriasian stages) of Argentina. Its holotype was collected from the Vaca Muerta Formation of Cerro Lotena, Neuquen, dating to the early Tithonian stage of the Late Jurassic, about 150 million years ago. Caypullisaurus was first named by Marta Fernández in 1997 and the type species is Caypullisaurus bonapartei. It is a member of the family Ophthalmosauridae, and closely related to Platypterygius and Brachypterygius. In 2012, Caypullisaurus was found to be most closely related to Athabascasaurus and "Platypterygius" australis, and to nest within the subfamily Platypterygiinae.


Herbstosaurus is the name given to a genus of pterosaurs that lived during the Late Jurassic period, in what is now Argentina. In 1969 Argentine paleobotanist Rafael Herbst in the province Neuquén at Picun Leufú dug up a piece of sandstone holding a number of disarticulated bones of a small reptile. At the time it was assumed the rock dated to the Middle Jurassic (Callovian), about 163 million years ago.

In 1974/1975 paleontologist Rodolfo Magín Casamiquela named the find as a new genus. The type species is Herbstosaurus pigmaeus. The genus name honours Herbst and connects his name to Greek sauros, "lizard", a usual element in the name of dinosaurs — Casamiquela assumed the new genus was a theropod dinosaur. The specific name is derived from Greek pygmaios, "dwarf": it was thought the form presented a small Compsognathus-like coelurosaurian belonging to the Coeluridae and one of the smallest dinosaurs then known.


Imilac is a pallasite meteorite found in the Atacama Desert of Northern Chile in 1822.

José Luis Manzano

José Luis Manzano (born March 9, 1956 in Tupungato, Mendoza province, Argentina) is an Argentine businessman and former politician. He is currently a partner in the second largest multimedia group in his country, Grupo América, and has investments in several economic sectors, including energy, wine, and apparel.

Born in Tupungato, department of Mendoza, he studied medicine at the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo and specialized in occupational medicine. Later he completed two postgraduate programs at Georgetown University, USA: Executive Postgraduate in International Finance and Executive Postgraduate In International Business.

He had outstanding experience in the civil service. Between 1983 and 1989 he was national deputy for Mendoza; In the Lower House, presided over the block of the Justicialista Party with 27 years old, reason why they baptized "Chupete". Between 1989 and 1993 he was party secretary. Between 1989 and 1992 he was interior minister of the government of Carlos Saúl Menem.In 1996 he began to collaborate with the media group of Daniel Vila, businessman, with whom in society acquired the channel porteño America TV, together with the politician and entrepreneur Francisco de Narváez. In turn, created with Vila the multimedia Grupo América, currently the second Multimedia Group in Argentina. Today, with the name Grupo América, is composed of 49 media from all over the country, including graphics, radio, television and digital.

Also, with its partner Vila created Andes Energy in 2007, an oil company in which also integrate the brother's board of Vila, Alfredo Vila, Luis Nofal and Jorge Aidar Bestene.

List of largest meteorites on Earth

This is a List of largest meteorites on Earth. With regard to size, we first have to clarify whether we are talking about the largest fragment of a given meteorite or the total amount of material coming from the same meteorite fall: often a single meteoroid during atmospheric entry tends to fragment more pieces.

The table lists the largest meteorites found on the Earth's surface.

Los Molles Formation

The Los Molles Formation is a geologic formation of Early to Middle Jurassic age, located at northern and central part of Neuquén Basin at Mendoza Shelf in Argentina. It is overlain by the Niyeu–Lajas Formation.

Lotena Formation

The Lotena Formation is a geologic formation dated from the Late Callovian to Early Oxfordian in the Neuquén Basin in Mendoza Province, Argentina. The formation, first defined by Weaver in 1931 and named after Cerro Lotena, consists of fluvial conglomerates, calcareous sandstones and marine limestones and shales. The Lotena Formation is overlain by the La Manga Formation and overlies the Lajas Formation of the Cuyo Group. Initially, the fossil find of the pterosaur Herbstosaurus pigmaeus was reported from the formation, but this fossil was found in the younger Vaca Muerta. The formation is a reservoir rock in the Neuquén Basin.


Mesosiderites are a class of stony–iron meteorites consisting of about equal parts of metallic nickel-iron and silicate. They are breccias with an irregular texture; silicates and metal occur often in lumps or pebbles as well as in fine-grained intergrowths. The silicate part contains olivine, pyroxenes, and Ca-rich feldspar and is similar in composition to eucrites and diogenites.They are a rare type of meteorite; as of November 2014 only 208 are known (of which 56 come from Antarctica) and only 7 of these are observed falls. On the other hand, some mesosiderites are among the largest meteorites known.

At Vaca Muerta in the Atacama Desert in Chile, many fragments with a total mass of 3.8 tons were found in a large strewnfield. They were first discovered in the 19th century by ore prospectors who mistook the shiny metal inclusions for silver and thought they had found an outcrop of a silver ore deposit. Later when an analysis was made and nickel-iron was found, the true nature as a meteorite was established. The meteorite was called Vaca Muerta. The picture at right shows a cut and polished piece of Vaca Muerta.

The most recent fall of a mesosiderite occurred at Dong Ujimqin Qi in China, on September 7, 1995, where three large pieces with a total mass of 129 kilograms (284 lb) fell. The fall of the Estherville mesosiderite in Iowa, US occurred on May 10, 1879. After a brilliant fireball had been seen, a shower of several large masses and many small fragments fell, totaling 320 kilograms (710 lb). The fall at Lowicz in Poland on March 12, 1935 yielded many (more than 50) fragments with a total weight of 59 kilograms (130 lb). The other observed mesosiderite falls occurred in 1842 at Barea (Spain), in 1880 at Varamin (Iran), in 1933 at Dyarrl Island (Papua New Guinea), and at Patwar (India) in 1935.

The legendary Chinguetti meteorite is also supposed to be a mesosiderite.

The asteroid 16 Psyche is a candidate for the parent body of the mesosiderites.

Neuquén Basin

Neuquén Basin (Spanish: Cuenca Neuquina) is a sedimentary basin covering most of Neuquén Province in Argentina. The basin originated in the Jurassic and developed through alternating continental and marine conditions well into the Tertiary. The basin bounds to the west with the Andean Volcanic Belt, to the southeast with the North Patagonian Massif and to the northeast with the San Rafael Block and to the east with the Sierra Pintada System. The basin covers an area of approximately 120,000 square kilometres (46,000 sq mi). One age of the SALMA classification, the Colloncuran, is defined in the basin, based on the Collón Curá Formation, named after the Collón Curá River, a tributary of the Limay River.


Neusticemys is an extinct genus of sea turtle. Its type species is Neusticemys neuquina.

Neusticemys was originally described as a new species of Eurysternum, but was later assigned to its own genus in 1993.


Purranisaurus is an extinct genus of marine crocodyliform from the Middle to Late Jurassic period of Chile and Argentina. Rusconi originally regarded Purranisaurus potens (the type species) to be a plesiosaur; however, Gasparini demonstrated that it was in fact a metriorhynchid crocodyliform, and that may be a junior synonym of Metriorhynchus.

Renationalization of YPF

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina introduced a bill on April 16, 2012 for the partial renationalization of YPF, the nation's largest energy firm. The state would purchase a 51% share, with the national government controlling 51% of this package and ten provincial governments receiving the remaining 49%. The bill was overwhelmingly approved by both houses of Congress, and was signed by the president on May 5.The government of Argentina eventually agreed to pay US$5 billion in compensation to Repsol, which had previously owned YPF.

Tren del Valle

Tren del Valle is a 10 km (6.2 mi) commuter rail service that connects cities of Neuquén and Cipolletti, in the Río Negro and Neuquén Provinces of Argentina, running on Roca Railway tracks. In a second stage, the line would be extended to General Roca and Plottier, in the same province.The Tren del Valle is named after "Alto valle del Río Negro", a valley located at the north west of Río Negro Province, crossing cities of General Roca, Cipolletti, Villa Regina, Cinco Saltos, among others. It extends from the confluence of Limay and Neuquén rivers to Chichinales. The region is about 52,000 m2 (560,000 sq ft) in size, and is also notable for its production of apples as well as its vast Vaca Muerta oil field, whose freight lines will share some tracks with the Tren del Valle.The service, after preliminary tests, was opened on 21 July 2015, being operated by state-owned Trenes Argentinos.

Víctor Alberto Ramos

Víctor Alberto Ramos (born 1945) is an Argentine geologist who has contributed to the paleogeography and plate tectonics of South America. He has been a member of the Chilean Academy of Science since 2001 and won in 2013 the Premio México de Ciencia y Tecnología.Ramos was the first to recognize the existence of Chilenia and the former sea that separated it from the rest of South America (then part of Gondwana). At the time of the discovery in the 1980s it was considered to be speculative. In a 1988 conference in Chile the discovery of Chilenia was not well received and a payador at the conference ridiculed him. As the existence of Chilenia was recognized, he was made a member of the Chilean Academy of Sciences.Together with other researchers Ramos has proposed to change the age of the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary from 145 Ma to 140 Ma making the Jurassic longer. This proposal derives from a 2014 study based on biostratigraphy and radiometric dating of ash in the Vaca Muerta Formation in Neuquén Basin, Argentina. In Ramos' words the study would serve as a "first step" toward formally changing the age in the International Union of Geological Sciences.Ramos has proposed that the Patagonian landmass originated as an allochtonous terrane that separated from Antarctica and docked in South America 250 to 270 Ma in the Permian period. A 2014 study by Robert John Pankhurst and co-workers reject the idea of a far-travelled Patagonia claiming it is likely of parautochthonous (nearby) origin.Víctor Ramos has been a visiting professor at:

Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Brazil

Cornell University, United States

Universidad de Chile, Chile

Universidad Nacional de Salta, Argentina

Universidad Nacional de San Juan, Argentina

Universidad Nacional de San Luis, Argentina

Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

University of São Paulo, Brazil

Universidad Nacional del Sur, Argentina

Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina

Universidad Nacional de Asunción, Paraguay

Universidad de la República, Uruguay


Wenupteryx is an extinct genus of pterodactyloid pterosaur known from the Late Jurassic (Tithonian stage) Vaca Muerta Formation of Neuquén Province, southern Argentina. It was first named by Laura Codorniú and Zulma Gasparini in 2013 and the type species is Wenupteryx uzi. It is a small-sized pterosaur related to the clade Euctenochasmatia or Archaeopterodactyloidea.


YPF S.A. (Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales ; English: "Fiscal Oilfields") is a vertically integrated Argentine energy company, engaged in oil and gas exploration and production, and the transportation, refining, and marketing of gas and petroleum products.

Founded in 1922 under President Hipólito Yrigoyen's administration, YPF was the first oil company established as a state enterprise outside of the Soviet Union, and the first state oil company to become vertically integrated.Its founder and first director was Enrique Mosconi, who advocated economic independence and starting in 1928, nationalization of oil supplies; the latter, however, was never achieved due to a 1930 military coup against Yrigoyen backed by, among others, foreign oil interests. YPF was privatized in 1993 and bought by the Spanish firm Repsol S.A. in 1999; the resulting merger produced 'Repsol YPF'. The renationalization of 51% of the firm was initiated in 2012 by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. The government of Argentina eventually agreed to pay $5 billion compensation to Repsol.


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