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Argentina's Neuquen sees 15% rise in oil output, 7% rise in gas in 2019 on shale: government

Buenos Aires — Argentina's Neuquen, a southwestern province and home to most of the giant Vaca Muerta shale play, expects oil production to surge 15% in 2019 year on year and gas to rise by 7% over the same period, the provincial government said Friday.

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The growth will take average oil production to 130,830 b/d in 2019 on the year, and gas to an average of 66.67 million cu m/d, the government said in a presentation of a draft of the provincial budget. It did not provide estimates for this year's average output.

Neuquen was producing 108,000 b/d of oil in July, and 68.1 million cu m/d of gas, according to the latest data from the Argentina Oil and Gas Institute, an industry group. That is up from 98,250 b/d and 61.1 million cu m/d in January, the data showed.

The growth comes as companies like ExxonMobil, Shell and state-run YPF push forward on pilot and development projects in Vaca Muerta, helping to offset declines in conventional fields as reserves mature.

The federal government estimates Vaca Muerta could double the country's overall production over the next five years to 1 million b/d of oil and 238 million cu m/d of gas, allowing it to export up to 500,000 b/d and 100 million cu m/d by that time. -- Charles Newbery, newsdesk@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Derek Sands, newsdesk@spglobal.com