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Statoil (STO), YPF Finalize Deal to Develop Vaca Muerta Play

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Statoil ASA has finalized a deal with Argentina’s YPF to jointly develop a block in the Vaca Muerta shale oil and gas play.

The Vaca Muerta shale oil and gas play, considered the second-largest in the world, is spread across 38,800 acres in the Bajo del Toro block. The deal, which was earlier announced in August 2016, represents Statoil’s first project in Argentina.

Per the accord, Statoil will reimburse $30 million to YPF for the expenses allocated to the block. Additionally, Statoil has promised to pay $270 million for future capital expenditure. Capex is planned to be spent on the drilling of an initial two horizontal wells in the first phase and another six in the second phase along with building of well-site infrastructure. YPF, the operator of the block, will have 50% stake, while the remaining 50% interest is expected to be held by Statoil.

The Vaca Muerta formation is projected to comprise about 308 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 16.2 billion barrels of crude oil.

Many major oil players have expressed interest in participating in the development of the Vaca Muerta. Among the interested companies are energy giants Chevron Corp (CVX - Free Report) and ExxonMobil Corporation (XOM - Free Report) . ExxonMobil has already shelled out about $250 million toward exploration in the area and intends to add another $10 billion over the next two to three decades. Chevron invested $1.5 billion three years ago when it struck a joint venture deal with YPF.

Other players like Total, BP plc (BP - Free Report) , Shell, Schlumberger and Wintershall also have joint ventures with YPF in Vaca Muerta. YPF is focusing on the play to ensure long-term oil and gas production growth.

Over the next five years, YPF has proposed to invest $21.5 billion on new oil and gas production with an intention to boost crude oil yield by 26%. The funds for this production increasing program will be raised by divestment of assets. The Argentine company will also take the help of other companies who are anticipated to put in about $8.5 billion for this program.

Price Performance

Statoil’s shares have gained 4.8% compared with the industry’s rally of 12.5% in the last three months.



 

Zacks Rank    

Statoil sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

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