The Energy Challenge

ARGENTINA’S UNCONVENTIONAL OIL & GAS RESOURCES ARE AMONG THE WORLD'S LARGEST

YPF IS WORKING AND INVESTING TO INCREASE PRODUCTION WITH THE AIM OF MEETING THE CHALLENGE OF REGAINING ENERGY SELF-SUFFICIENCY.

Walking rigs: latest generation drilling equipment in Vaca Muerta.

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The importance
of hydrocarbons

Energy is the basis of our society and our way of life.
We depend on it for food production, transportation, heating, electricity, lighting, telecommunications and technology.

The economic development of the country depends on the availability of oil and gas, the main sources of energy which do not only generate electricity.

90% of the objects we use every day are derived from petroleum products. Petroleum is also essential for producing bottles, bags, cell phones, watches, clothing, paint, detergents, fertilizers, toothpaste, hair conditioner and much more.

Moreover, in Argentina, 1,800 million liters of diesel are used to produce 100 million tons of grain annually.

It is estimated that by 2040 renewable energies will occupy nearly 15% of the world’s energy matrix. However energy from fossil fuels will continue to occupy a high percentage of more than 80%.

                       

THE ENERGY MATRIX
IN ARGENTINA 2012

Argentina86%*     

Europe65%*      

USA64%*      

Brazil57%*      

China23%*      

Petroleum Natural Gas Carbon
Nuclear Hydroelectric Renewable

The energy matrix of the world
*Percentage of gas and oil in the energy matrix of each country.

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Resources to regain
self-sufficiency

Due to the natural decline of conventional hydrocarbon reserves and a sustained increase in demand for fuel and the thousands of products derived from it, in addition to alternative energies it is also necessary to explore and add new resources. Shale is a sedimentary formation with low permeability which contains unconventional hydrocarbons housed in the micropores of the rock. To extract oil and gas from this rock conventional perforations are performed similar to those used in Argentina over the past 70 years, and with the addition of a next-generation technology known as hydraulic stimulation. The highest safety standards are applied in this technique and this ensures both efficiency and environmental care.

Our country has an enormous worldwide potential to obtain large hydrocarbon reserves from unconventional resources.

HYDRAULIC STIMULATION

It is an extraction technique known since the 50s and practiced around the world for decades. It involves injecting a fluid composed of 95% water; 4.5% sand and 0.5% additives to create the necessary channels through which hydrocarbons can flow naturally. This is done in stages and for only 1-2 days. Once completed the well remains in production for the next 20-40 years.

EQUIPMENT AND PERMITS

The drilling of an unconventional well is the same as that of a conventional well. In both cases the same equipment is used and the same environmental permits are required , which are regulated by the responsible enforcement authority.

AQUIFER

Isolated by several layers of cement and steel.

CASING

Thick steel piping that prevents contact of the hydrocarbons with water and other formations.

CEMENT

An inert and harmless material for the rock and water lining the walls of the well.

ISOLATION

The casing and the cement are utilized both at the beginning and at the end of the well.

STRENGTH

All materials and installations are tested to 25% above their resilience.

PIPE PUNCHING

It is done with a special tool which opens avenues to connect the pipeline with the geological formation.

ROUTES

They have 2 mm in diameter and can reach a distance of 100 m.

HYDRAULIC STIMULATION

From the surface a fluid composed of 95% water, 4.5% sand and 0.5% of chemical additives is injected at high pressure through the piping, opening the lines in the source rock and interconnecting the pores containing the hydrocarbons to obtain the required permeability.

CHEMICAL ADDITIVES

Some of them are also used in products such as table salt, bath soap, cosmetics, beverages, juices, candy, etc.

PORES IN THE SOURCE ROCK

The size is approximately 50 times smaller than the diameter of a hair.

PLUGS

They are used to prevent the rise of the hydrocarbons while hydraulic stimulation is performed at another stage in the pipeline.

RISE OF OIL AND GAS

A tool is introduced to rotate the plugs and clear the way. The hydrocarbons flow by natural pressure through the pathways that have been made. The well remains in production for the next 20-40 years.

METHOD
OF EXTRACTNG
UNCONVENTIONAL
OIL & GAS

300M

2.500M

Vaca Muerta

It is a geological formation of 30,000 km² (12,000 km² in concession to YPF ) located mainly in the province of Neuquén and containing oil and gas found at a depth of more than 2,500 meters, far from the groundwater that in this region is located at a depth of between 300 and 400 meters.

The relevance of Vaca Muerta is so significant that the development of only a small part of this formation could cover the country’s energy deficit.

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MYTHS ABOUT
HYDRAULIC STIMULATION

Stories from workers in Vaca Muerta

Unconventional resources provided provide Argentina with an historic opportunity
to reach energy self-sufficiency.