Since 2008, Total has been working actively on specific projects related to unconventional resources, which began with the drilling of multifractured horizontal wells in Aguada Pichana, Argentina, aimed at developing tight gas reservoirs that are currently in production. We then launched an extensive campaign of shale development pilots in Aguada Pichana Este, Rincón La Ceniza and La Escalonada, reaching higher production levels than expected and confirming the long-term commercial feasibility of shale in the region.
Located in the semi-desert Neuquén region, Vaca Muerta has everything you could ever ask for. The mineral composition of its organic-rich source rock lends itself to hydraulic fracturing. Its petrophysical properties are also good: the rock is more porous than the unconventional deposits of North America and comes with an extensive existing network of natural fractures.
The project includes an existing plant that has been processing conventional gas from reservoirs where the output is now declining. The plant was operating at less than half of its capacity, but shale gas could allow it to run at its full capacity of 16 million cubic meters per day, or 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
Aguada Pichana Este benefits from a combination of factors: increased efforts to reduce costs, especially drilling costs, added to an improved well performance and productivity.
These milestones further boosted shale activities through the launch of a new shale development phase in Aguada Pichana Este. This project involves the drilling of 60 wells.
Today, with more than 20 of these wells drilled and connected, shale gas production has hit its historical record, reaching 50% of the total production of the Aguada Pichana field.
We expect that by the end of this first development phase, the Aguada Pichana processing plant will reach its maximum capacity of 16 million m3/d thanks to shale gas production.
We have thus become one of the main players in this field as well as one of the key operators in Vaca Muerta.
These recent investments are proof of our commitment to offer solutions to meet the growing energy demand in Argentina. We are aiming to contribute to a sustainable gas supply with the highest safety standards and environmental commitments (each pad’s footprint is around 200 m², for a subsurface area of 14 km²).
Vaca Muerta, the development of an unconventional giant
Aerial view of the Aguada Pichana site, Argentina
Storage tank on the Aguada Pichana field, Neuquén Basin, Argentina
Aerial view from the Vaca Muerta field, Argentina
Operators on Vaca Muerta field, Argentina
The production of gas and condensates from shale gas wells are treated on the site of Rincón La Ceniza
Operators on the Vaca Muerta field, Argentina
The Aguada Pichana processing plant will reach a 16 million cubic meters production capacity per day, thanks to shale gas development