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    PowerChina Eyes Role in Argentine Vaca Muerta Railway: Press


The remote shale region needs upstream and midstream investment for output to continue growing.

by: Joe Murphy

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PowerChina Eyes Role in Argentine Vaca Muerta Railway: Press

Chinese energy firm PowerChina is in talks to build a railway to deliver oil and gas from Argentina's Vaca Muerta shale formation to the port of Bahia Blanca, its country president Tu Shuiping told Reuters on September 17.

The rail would link Vaca Muerta to Bahia Blanca's refining and petrochemicals facilities. The remote shale formation has 308 trillion ft3 of gas and 16bn barrels of oil and condensate in technically recoverable resources, according to the US EIA. But greater investment is needed in exploration and production, as well as infrastructure to bring its oil and gas to markets, in order for output to continue growing.

PowerChina is discussing the rail project with Argentina's state railway operator ADIF. Its cost is estimated at $1.2-1.5bn, Tu said, noting that China could help foot the bill.

"There is a concrete plan that we have been working on for almost two years," Tu said. "We were talking with people from ADIF to see how the project can be presented and then seek joint financing."

Argentina's transport ministry told Reuters there were discussions with many companies on the project, but plans are at present undefined. The railway could also deliver sand for hydraulic fracturing and food, he said.

Argentina is also in talks with Brazil on the construction  of a $4.9bn pipeline to pump gas from Vaca Muerta to Brazil.