HOUSTON, March 11 (Reuters) - Argentina’s efforts to boost its natural gas output and supplies are progressing through new midstream projects and auctions, moves that are expected to balance the country’s supply and demand, the nation’s energy secretary said on Monday.
A pipeline construction contract to transport up to 22 million cubic meters of gas production per day from Argentina’s largest producing region, Vaca Muerta, to Buenos Aires, expects to be launched by the end of April, to be awarded in August-September, minister Gustavo Lopetegui said in a press conference in Houston.
The Vaca Muerta shale play will require future investment of between $5 billion and $10 billion per year, from $4.3 billion, now to accelerate growth, Lopetegui said.
Argentina’s crude exports, and especially those of shale oil, will climb as overall production heads toward 100,000 barrels per day in the second half of this year, he also said.
The country also plans monthly auctions for offering domestic gas and will organize a separate gas auction beginning in May for offering winter gas at prices indexed to imported liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Reporting by Marianna Parraga Editing by Marguerita Choy