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Challenges and Opportunities in Vaca Muerta

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Course Credit: 0.15 CEU, 1.5 PDH

Other that the US and Canada, Vaca Muerta, in Argentina is probably the largest and most active unconventional play in the world. Based on several evaluations, its resources are vast and currently different companies are assessing its true potential at different locations. With an extension of about 30,000 km2 and a reservoir thickness varying from 50 to 500 m (average > 300 m), there are multiple potential landing points for horizontal wells. The target is to identify the most prolific ones for initial development. In addition, there is vast lateral and vertical variability so what is applicable to one area does not work in the same way in another. To make things more challenging, reservoir fluids vary from dry gas to black oil and sometimes with abrupt changes in a limited distance. Its geology is not easier either, the presence of ash beds, carbonate beefs and decoupled layers make difficult for hydraulic fractures to grow as they act as barriers. Normal and strike-slip regimes are common even in the same vertical well which also has an important impact for stimulation of horizontal wells. Active players in Vaca Muerta have de-risked some portions of it with vertical wells and based on their results they have decided different landing points with different results.

This presentation will address the challenges that operators face in the early stage of assessment and how they have been attacking them providing some promising results and ways forward as they move into predevelopment or development. But not all are reservoir related issues, there are also other concerns such as legal, political, logistics, commercial and several others that must be solved as well. Great challenges but also great opportunities at the same time as well!

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Course Chapters

  • 1Challenges and Opportunities in Vaca Muerta - Chapter 1
    Media Type: Video


Earn credits by completing this course0.15 CEU credit1.5 PDH credits


Mr. Jorge Ponce