U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Country Analysis Note
- In 2013, Argentina was the largest dry gas producer and the fourth largest petroleum and other liquids producer in South America.
- Argentina’s new hydrocarbons reform, published on October 31, 2014, provides investors with offshore exploration opportunities and encourages foreign ventures in unconventional plays. Before the 2014 reform to the 1967 Hydrocarbon Law, Argentina’s energy sector policies prompted an imbalance of energy supply and demand by limiting the industry’s attractiveness to private investors, restraining the profits of domestic producers, and shielding consumers from rising prices. Domestic demand for energy grew rapidly while production of both petroleum and other liquids and natural gas declined — making Argentina a net hydrocarbons importer.
- To incentivize foreign investment in the hydrocarbons sector and boost domestic energy supplies, the recent policy will reform the national bidding process, increase the frequency of offshore licensing rounds, allow for longer exploitation periods, and offer tax exemptions to companies that invest more than $250 million over a three-year period. The reform will also reinforce national oil company (NOC) Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales’s (YPF) position while reducing the impact of provincial oil companies.
- To limit the influence of the current low oil prices on production, the Ministry of Economy recently announced a reduction to oil exports tariffs.
- The Argentine government has also provided tax incentives to companies that form partnerships with state-owned energy company, Energía Argentina Sociedad Anónima’s (ENARSA), for offshore exploration and offered higher gas prices for new gas production sold in the domestic market under the Gas Plus Plan.
- In Argentina, the energy sector is regulated by the Ministerio de Planificación Federal, Inversión Pública y Servicios (Ministry of Federal Planning, Public Investment, and Services). The Ministry includes the Ente Nacional Regulador de Gas (ENARGAS), which regulates natural gas transportation, and distribution activities; and the Secretaría de Energía (Energy Secretariat), which oversees upstream oil and natural gas production. The 2014 reform also transfers all of the offshore permits and concessions of state-owned energy company ENARSA’s to the Energy Secretariat.
- According to the 2013 Energy Balance published by the Argentina’s Energy Secretariat, total primary energy production in Argentina was 3.02 quadrillion Btu. Natural gas production accounted for approximately 51%, and production of crude oil represented 38% of the total energy production portfolio. Hydroelectricity is the third largest primary energy source.
- Natural gas, which is used widely in the electricity, industrial, and residential sectors, represented 53% of total primary energy consumption in 2013 (3.22 quadrillion Btu). Oil is the primary fuel used in the transportation sector and represented 33% of total primary energy consumption. A smaller share of the country’s total energy consumption can be attributed to nuclear, coal, and hydropower, which are used for electricity generation, while other renewable resources are used to produce biofuels for transportation.
- As of January 2015, Argentina held 2.4 billion barrels of proved crude oil reserves, a decrease of almost 0.5 billion barrels from the prior year, according to Oil and Gas Journal (OGJ). In 2014, total oil production was 711,000 barrels per day (bbl/d), of which 519,000 bbl/d was from crude oil and 104,000 bbl/d was from natural gas plant liquids.
- YPF is the largest oil producer in the country and extracts oil from about 59 fields. The second-leading oil producer, with 18% for total production in 2013, is Pan American Energy (PAE), which is owned by BP and the Bridas Corporation (a 50-50 joint venture between the China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Bridas Energy Holdings). PAE currently operates one of Argentina’s largest oil fields, the Cerro Dragón field. Chevron (U.S.), Petrobras (Brazil), and Sinopec Group (China) also have had a significant presence in Argentina’s upstream oil production.
- Argentina has ten refineries with a combined 611,175 bbl/d of crude refining capacity, more than half of which is controlled by YPF, according to the OGJ. Total crude refining capacity decreased from 630,575 bbl/d in 2013 because of lower capacity at Refinor SA’s Campo Duran refinery and Shell’s refinery in Buenos Aires.
- Argentinian refined products do not satisfy all domestic fuel demand. As a result, Argentina imported 86,863 bbl/d of total oil products, including 43,494 bbl/d from the United States, in 2014.
- In 2014, Argentina’s soybean-based biodiesel production was expected to reach 48,251 bbl/d and production capacity grew drastically to 88,746 bbl/d. However, following the most recent anti-dumping tariffs on biodiesel imports implemented by the European Union (EU), Argentina has been unable to find an alternative market for their biodiesel exports, according to the Cámara Argentina de Biocombustibles (CARBIO).
- Argentina had proved natural gas reserves of approximately 11.1 Trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in January 2015, according to latest estimates from OGJ, a decrease from 13.4 Tcf in 2014. Argentina holds the world’s second-largest shale gas reserves and Vaca Muerta, located in the Neuquen Basin, is Argentina’s largest shale gas play with an estimated 308 Tcf of dry, wet, and associated shale gas resources.
- According to OGJ, Total Austral, a subsidiary of Total S.A., is Argentina’s largest natural gas producer, accounting for about 30% of the country’s total domestic supply. YPF, Argentina’s second-largest natural gas producer, accounts for over 23% of the country’s natural gas output. Other significant players in the natural gas sector include Pan American Energy, Petrobras (Brazil), Pluspetrol (Argentina), Tecpetrol (Argentina), and Apache Energy (U.S.).
- Argentina produces more natural gas than total petroleum liquids. However, the country’s natural gas output decreased for a seventh—consecutive year to 1.3 Tcf of dry natural gas in 2013. The largest—gas producing basins include Neuquén, Austral, and Noroeste. Together, these three basins account for roughly 85% of the country’s natural gas production.
- Argentina has 17,958 miles of natural gas pipelines. Predominant pipelines include Neuba I, Neuba II, and San Martin, which connect producing provinces in the Neuquén, San Jorge, and Austral basins (located in the central and southern parts of the country) with Buenos Aires and other demand centers.
- Bolivia is the source of virtually all of Argentina’s natural gas imports via pipeline. In 2013, Argentina imported 184 Billion cubic feet (Bcf) from Bolivia via pipeline. Located on the Paraná River, the Escobar terminal is Argentina’s sole LNG terminal. Argentina imported 244 Bcf of liquefied natural gas in 2013 via the terminal, of which the largest share of LNG came from Trinidad and Tobago.
- Although Argentina is a net importer of natural gas, it continues to export natural gas to its neighbors — largely Chile and, to a lesser extent, Uruguay.
- Argentina consumed 117.1 billion kilowatthours in 2012 and remains the second-largest consumer of electricity in South America, after Brazil.
- Through electrical transmission interconnections with Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay, Argentina imported 18.4 billion kilowatthours in 2014, a 79% increase from electrical energy imports in 2013 (8.0 billion kilowatthours), to meet increasing domestic electricity demand.
Analysis Last Updated: April 2015
Overview data for Argentina+ EXPAND ALL
-- = Not applicable; NA = Not available; E = Estimate value
Sources: EIA. For more detailed data, see International Energy Statistics.
Data last updated: May 30, 2013
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