Qatar Petroleum (QP) entered into an agreement with US Supermajor ExxonMobil, to become a 30% equity holder in two of its Argentinian affiliates that hold different interests in hydrocarbon licenses for seven blocks in the world class Vaca Muerta play in the onshore Neuquén basin in Argentina.

The agreements were signed by Saad Sherida Al Kaabi, President and CEO of QP, and Andrew P Swiger, Senior Vice President and Principal Financial Officer of Exxon Mobil Corporation, at a ceremony held in Doha, in the presence of senior executives from both companies.

Upon closing, the signed agreements will give QP a 30% shareholding in two ExxonMobil local affiliates in Argentina – ExxonMobil Exploration Argentina SRL and Mobil Argentina SA, which hold rights with other partners for seven blocks under unconventional exploration licenses (with active drilling plans) as well as exploitation licenses (with pilot drilling and production).

Al Kaabi said they are pleased to enter into this agreement with long-time partner ExxonMobil, and to participate in the further development of the Vaca Muerta unconventional resource in Argentina.

This is an important milestone, as it marks QP’s first investment in Argentina as well as its first significant international investment in unconventional oil and gas resources. We look forward to working with ExxonMobil to leverage our combined world class capabilities to unlock the potential of these assets for the benefit of all stakeholders.’

Al Kaabi added that the agreement is a milestone on the road to expanding Qatar’s international footprint, which is an important part of QP’s growth strategy. He said that the newest deal goes hand in hand with the planned expansion of local production from the North Field, which will further boost Qatar’s leading global position – raising its LNG production from 77 million to 100 million tonnes per year. There is also the recently announced Petrochemicals Complex project, which includes the largest ethane cracker in the Middle East, and one of the largest in the world.

As we approach the first anniversary of the unjust blockade against the State of Qatar, I would like to stress that our oil and gas sector has not been impacted by the blockade, nor has our previously planned expansion.’

Swiger, for his part, said that the agreement underscores their commitment to develop Argentina’s resources and support domestic production of oil and natural gas.

The Vaca Muerta shale in the Neuquén province in western Argentina is considered among the most promising unconventional shale oil/gas plays outside North America. Activity in the basin has picked up recently, mainly due to governmental incentives and rising domestic energy demand. A number of international operators have established presence in the basin and announced ambitious investment plans.

ExxonMobil’s wholly owned subsidiary, XTO Energy, among the world leaders in unconventional oil and gas operations, is providing operational support to the two concerned ExxonMobil affiliates in Argentina.The implementation of leading technologies will be a priority for the partners in order to maximise the value to all stakeholders.

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