Exxon announces first-ever shale oil and gas find in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES, May 22 (UPI) --U.S. energy company Exxon Mobil said its affiliate in Argentina discovered oil and natural gas in the Vaca Muerta shale play in the country's Neuquen province.

ExxonMobil Exploration Argentina, alongside its regional partner, said it was carrying out additional analysis at the Bajo del Choique X-2 well after confirming an oil and gas discovery.

Appraisal wells will need to be drilled before Exxon makes a commercial decision on the area, but the company expressed optimism about the potential.

"Not all shales are alike, so our first Exxon Mobil-operated discovery in the Vaca Muerta play is a very positive sign that the shale in this area of Neuquen province holds great promise as a liquids-rich unconventional resource for Argentina," Stephen Greenlee, president of Exxon Mobil Exploration Co. said in a statement Wednesday.

The U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration estimates Argentina has 774 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable shale gas resources, the third most in the world. Oil reserves are estimated at 2.5 billion barrels. Its Vaca Muerta region is considered one of the best shale reserve areas in the world.

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