Gazprom to tap Argentina's shale boom via Wintershall partnership - reports

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The world's largest natural gas producer, Russia's Gazprom, is rumored to be negotiating its entrance into the Argentine shale boom through a partnership with German company Basf's (NYSE: BF) subsidiary Wintershall Energía.

The agreement would be part of an assets swap between Basf and Gazprom, according to reports by Russian paper Kommersant, citing sources close to the deal who said the Vladimir Putin-controlled firm is looking to accelerate the negotiations, which began last year.

In Argentina, Wintershall produces 27Mboe/y (approximately 73,970boe/d), making it the nation's fourth largest natural gas producer, according to company data. The firm is involved in 15 oil and gas fields in the provinces of Neuquén, Tierra del Fuego and Mendoza where it holds blocks on the acclaimed Vaca Muerta shale play.

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Offshore Tierra del Fuego in the Austral basin, Wintershall and the local branch of French major Total (NYSE: TOT), Total Austral, plan to invest a combined US$2.1bn through 2017.

Gazprom is looking to increase its Latin American footprint in the LNG supply and gas production sectors, according to the Russian sources.

Gazprom began negotiations with Argentina's YPF (NYSE: YPF) last year, however, so far no concrete agreements have been reached between the NOCs.

Last week Bolivia's state hydrocarbons company YPFB signed a US$130mn deal with Gazprom and Total for the Azero block.

In Venezuela, Gazprom forms part of a PDVSA JV called Petromiranda along with compatriots Rosneft, Lukoil and TNK-BP.