ONGC has expressed interest in exploring the possibility of establishing presence in Argentina. In a letter to the petroleum ministry, ONGC stated that Latin America is a focus area for ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL). OVL has exploration and production (E&P) projects in Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and Cuba. However, it does not have a presence in Argentina so far. In this regard, the Company has expressed interest in conducting meetings and discussions with the proposed business delegation from Argentina headed by the Governor of the Province of Neuquen to India.
ONGC stated in the letter that Argentina is a net exporter of oil but oil exports have been declining gradually. The current oil production is about 606 thousand barrels per day and gas production about 3.45 billiob cubic feet per day. It further informed that the Neuquen Basin is a large producer of oil and gas in Argentina. However, the old conventional discoveries were huge but the recent ones are very small. One of the main issues facing the upstream sector in Argentina is the maturity of its conventional production. The challenge is to offset the decline and maximise the exploitation of remaining reserves through the use of secondary and tertiary recovery techniques.
Conventional oil fields being mature and the new discoveries being small, it is generally acknowledged that the future of oil and gas in Argentina lies in unconventional potential. ONGC further stated that Argentina has third largest unconventional resources in the world after China and United States. Infrastructure is in place that includes network of oil and gas pipelines including export pipelines. Further, there is presence of International oil majors for world class technology and services. ONGC informed that estimated resources of 70 billion barrels of oil equivalent (Bnboe) in Neuqen basin alone and 132 Bnboe in Argentina.
ONGC asserted that the Province of Neuquen is an important province with respect to Shale Oil and Gas potential and OVL can consider the possibility of participation.