July 13, 2018 / 6:25 PM / 9 days ago

Argentina to include new companies in Vaca Muerta sectoral agreement

BUENOS AIRES, July 13 (Reuters) - Argentina plans to include new companies in a 2017 sectoral agreement between oil producers, workers and the government in an effort to boost competitiveness in the Vaca Muerta shale play, the country’s production minister told Reuters on Friday.

Production and Mining Minister Dante Sica, who assumed the role three weeks ago amid a cabinet shakeup in market-friendly President Mauricio Macri’s government, said in an interview that he planned to meet with oil industry suppliers and service providers operating in the area in the coming weeks.

“We will sit down and discuss, see where the needs are, where the logistical bottlenecks are,” Sica said. “That way we can move quickly to unlock those resources and increase productivity and competitiveness.”

The Vaca Muerta play in Patagonia is one of the largest reserves of unconventional hydrocarbons on the planet, though much of its oil and gas remains untapped.

Sica added that growing exports in 2019 would help reduce Argentina’s trade deficit in part due to the depreciation of the peso currency this year. (Reporting by Eliana Raszewski; Writing by Scott Squires Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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