Still, Argentina’s biggest oil and gas company, YPF, has found a massive amount of oil in the province of Neuquen.
YPF on Monday confirmed the existence of almost 1 billion barrels worth of oil equivalent in the province. That’s not enough to turn Argentina into Saudi Arabia or even Montana and North Dakota, which have become the new stars in the world’s race to produce more oil.
Saudi Arabia reportedly has hundreds of billions of barrels in oil reserves.
But if the discovery is proven, it is enough to roughly double Argentina’s oil reserves and potentially help turn around the country’s position as an increasingly voracious energy importer.
Argentina’s oil reserves have fallen by about 16% over the past decade amid rising demand and relatively scarce investment in exploration and production, according to the Argentine Energy Institute.
YPF’s discovery, which I wrote about here, could soon help change that trend. Moreover, YPF said it has also outlined another area in Neuqen, where even more oil might be found.
The find comes amid a global boom in unconventional oil and gas exploration and production.
In the U.S., the boom has radically transformed the country’s energy outlook, taking what many said was a doomed domestic industry and possibly putting the U.S. on path to becoming energy indepdendent.
Argentina is ranked third behind China and the U.S. in its potential to produce unconventional gas – gas that’s extracted from incredibly old shale formations – according to a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.