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Argentina

Table of Contents
  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Key statistics
  3. 3. Gas demand
    1. 3.1. Total Primary Energy Consumption by fuel
    2. 3.2. Gas demand by sector
  4. 4. Gas supply
    1. 4.1. Gas reserves
      1. 4.1.1. Unconventional Gas
    2. 4.2. Exploration and production
    3. 4.3. Gas imports
    4. 4.4. Gas exports
  5. 5. Gas infrastructure
    1. 5.1. Gas grid
    2. 5.2. LNG
    3. 5.3. Underground Gas Storage
  6. 6. Gas market regulation
    1. 6.1. Upstream
    2. 6.2. Networks
    3. 6.3. Downstream

1. Introduction

Argentina is the second largest country by area in South America after Brazil. To the north it is bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay; to the northeast by Uruguay and Brazil and to the west and south by Chile. Argentina also claims the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, which are administered by the United Kingdom as British Overseas Territories. Especially ‘ownership’ of the Falkland Islands was a hot topic of debate in the first half year of 2012 over possible oil finds in the area. Argentina has a total surface of 2,780,400 square kilometers (1,073,518 sq mi) making it the 8th largest country in the world and is inhabited by approximately 41 million people (2012 estimate). It has a yearly GDP (PPP) of 716.42 billion US dollars (IMF 2011 est.), placing it 22nd in the world, which per capita makes this figure 17,516 US dollars, placing it 51st. For nominal GDP, these figures are 447.64 billion US dollars (27th) and 10,944 US dollars (62nd) respectively.[1]

Argentina is South America’s largest natural gas producer and consumer and produced an estimated total of 40,857 mcm in 2011 and consumed an estimated total of 47,439 mcm in that same year. The country is thus a net importer of natural gas. It holds about 0.18% (359 bcm) of the world’s gas reserves. [2]

Argentina's dispute of the United Kingdom's claim to the nearby Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) is relevant to the energy sector, as oil and gas exploration has recently occurred there notwithstanding the Argentine government's objections. Yet despite multiple test wells and high hopes about the Falkland's offshore potential, only one company has thus far discovered a field that is likely to be commercially viable.[3]

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2. Key statistics

Basic gas facts - Argentina
Basic Gas Facts 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011e
Gas reserves (bcm) .. 440 428 379 379 359
Gas production (mcm) 48251 46493 46758 44401 42251 40857
Gas consumption (mcm) 42574 45470 46099 45372 44544 47439
Gas imports (mcm) 1824 1701 1351 2474 3588 7400
imports pipeline (mcm) .. 1701 921 1701 1800 3540
imports LNG (mcm) ..   430 773 1788 3860
import dependency (%)* 0% 0% 0.61% 4.10% 7.01% 15.18%
Gas exports (mcm) 6299 2689 1069 614 466 200
Technically recoverable shale gas resources (bcm) .. .. .. 21919.68 .. ..
Coal Bed Methane reserves (bcm)** .. .. .. .. .. ..
c = confidential; - = nill; ..= not available
* Imports dependency of natural gas = (imports - exports) / consumption
**Proven & Probable (2P); U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Coalbed Methane Outreach Program
Sources: Natural Gas Information © OECD/IEA, 2011, EIA Analysis & Projections, GMI/EPA Coal Mine Methane Country Profiles

[1], [2], [3]

Basic energy facts - Argentina
Basic Energy Facts 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011e
Total Primary Energy Consumption (mtoe) 79 82.5 84.5 83.2 84.4 ..
CO2 Emissions, energy-related (Mt) 157.28 168.93 171.48 170.49 174.39 190.61
CO2 intensity, energy-related (tCO2/toe) .. .. .. .. .. ..
Energy consumption per capita (toe/cap) 1.99 2.06 2.09 2.03 2.04 ..
CO2 per capita, energy-related (tCO2/cap) 3.97 4.22 4.24 4.17 4.22 4.56
c = confidential; - = nill; ..= not available
Source: EIA International Energy Statistics

[4]

Energy Flow Chart 2007 - Argentina

[5]

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3. Gas demand

This section explores total primary energy consumption by fuel and gas demand by sector for Argentina.

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3.1. Total Primary Energy Consumption by fuel

In 2011, Argentina’s Total Primary Energy Consumption amounted to 81.9 mtoe, a 5.9% increase compared to 2010. In 2011, oil accounted for 28.1 mtoe while coal and gas accounted for 1.1 mtoe and 41.9 mtoe respectively. Nuclear, hydro and renewables accounted for 1.4 mtoe, 9.0 mtoe and 0.4 mtoe respectively.

Other: Nuclear, Hydro, Renewables

[1]

*other: Nuclear, Hydro, Renewables

[1]

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3.2. Gas demand by sector

Natural gas is widely used in the electricity, industrial, and residential sectors, and increasingly in transportation. Natural gas consumption comprises approximately one-half of Argentina's total energy consumption. In 2010, Argentina consumed an estimated total of 47,439 mcm of natural gas, approximately 6% more than in the previous year. In 2010, Argentina consumed a total of 44,544 mcm of natural gas, which was a slight decrease compared to 2009 consumption. In 2011, a little less than one third of total consumption was used for electricity generation. Approximately 28% and 24% of total consumption has been used in the industrial and residential sector respectively. About 7% of natural gas consumption has been used in the transport sector, as around 1.9 million vehicles run on compressed natural gas in Argentina. [1] [2]

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4. Gas supply

This section deals with gas reserves, exploration & production gas imports and gas exports.

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4.1. Gas reserves

According to Cedigaz, in 2011, Argentina holds 359 Bcm of gas reserves, representing approximately 0.2% of the world total reserves.[1] The largest share of the reserves are located at the Neuquén basin (approximately 42%) and the Austral basin (approximately 30%). [2]

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4.1.1. Unconventional Gas

According to recent analysis by EIA and Advanced Resources International, Argentina has approximately 22.000 bcm of technically recoverable shale gas resources – the world's third largest assessed endowment, behind only China and the United States. The Neuquén Basin in western Argentina contains more than half of the country's technically recoverable shale gas resources. Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales (YPF) recently discovered a large formation of commercially promising tight gas and shale gas – thought to total roughly 127 bcm – in the vicinity of Neuquén's Loma La Lata field, which for decades has been a leading source of conventional production. [1]

Shale gas has become a focus of efforts to reverse the decline in conventional reserves. In order to leverage Argentina's promising unconventional natural gas resources and revitalize domestic production, the government instituted a ‘Gas Plus’ program that entitles companies to sell natural gas from new or unconventional fields at higher prices. Projects that were recently approved under the Gas Plus program will reportedly be allowed to charge around $5 per million Btu (MMBtu) for their production, approximately double the national average price. [1]

[1]

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4.2. Exploration and production

Total is the country's largest natural gas producer. Together, Total and the second-largest producer, YPF, produce over one-half of Argentina's natural gas. Other important producers of natural gas include Pan American Energy, Petrobras (Brazil), Pluspetrol (Argentina), Tecpetrol (Argentina), and Apache Energy (U.S.). In 2011, Argentina produced 40,857 mcm of natural gas, 1,394 mcm less than in the previous year. Approximately 13% of Argentina's 2011 natural gas production was from offshore resources. Most of it was produced through the Cuenca Marina Austral 1 concession that is operated by Total. All offshore natural gas production comes from the Austral-Magallanes Basin in the south of Argentina. Many (proposed) projects to exploit Argentina's unconventional tight sand and shale gas resources are under review or development. Among the companies that attempt to take advantage of the more attractive fiscal terms offered by the government for unconventional projects are ExxonMobil, Apache, Pluspetrol, Total, and YPF. It is estimated that about 5% of total gas production concerns unconventional gas at the moment. [1]  

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4.3. Gas imports

In 2011, Argentina imported 7,400 mcm natural gas, representing 15.60% of its domestic consumption. Total imports have almost doubled compared with total imports in the previous year, which yielded 3,588 mcm. 3,540 mcm came from Bolivia via pipeline, while 3,8600 mcm of Argentina’s gas imports were in the form of LNG from Trinidad & Tobago, Egypt, Nigeria and Qatar. [1]

Imports by country - Argentina
By country of origin (in mcm) 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011e %Total Imports 2011
Bolivia .. 1701 921 1701 1800 3540 47.84%
Egypt - - 100 160 - 130 1.76%
Nigeria - - - - - 400 5.41%
Trinidad and Tobago - - 330 613 1638 2930 39.59%
Qatar - - - - 150 400 5.41%
Total 1824 1701 1351 2474 3588 7400 100%
%Total Consumption 4.28% 3.74% 2.93% 5.45% 8.05% 15.60%  
c = confidential; - = nill; ..= not available
Source: Natural Gas Information © OECD/IEA, 2012

[1]

Imports by transport type - Argentina
By transport type (in mcm) 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011e %Total 2011
Pipeline imports .. 1701 921 1701 1800 3540 47.84%
LNG imports ..   430 773 1788 3860 52.16%
Total 1824 1701 1351 2474 3588 7400 100%
%Total Consumption 4.28% 3.74% 2.93% 5.45% 8.05% 15.60  
c = confidential; - = nill; ..= not available
Source: Natural Gas Information © OECD/IEA, 2012

[1]

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4.4. Gas exports

Though Argentina currently is a net importer of natural gas, it continues to export natural gas to its neighbours, Chile and Uruguay. However, Argentina's reliability as a regional natural gas exporter has been undermined by supply interruptions during periods of domestic shortages.[1]

Exports by country - Argentina
By country of destination (in mcm) 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011e %Total Exports 2011
Brazil .. 432 438 .. ..    
Chile .. .. 780 885 ..    
Uruguay .. 116 102 71 79 80 40%
Other 6299 2141 .. .. 387 120 60%
Total 6299 2689 1320 956 466 200 100%
%Total Production 13.05% 5.78% 2.82% 2.15% 1.10% 0.49%  
c = confidential; - = nill; ..= not available, e = estimated
Source: Natural Gas Information © OECD/IEA, 2012

[2]

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5. Gas infrastructure

This section deals with the gas grid, LNG terminals and storage facilities in Argentina.

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5.1. Gas grid

According to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, Argentina has 18,269 miles of natural gas pipelines. The leading natural gas transportation company is Transportadora de Gas del Sur (TGS), which claims to operate the most extensive pipeline system in Latin America. Its most important pipelines are Neuba I, Neuba II, and San Martin, which connect the producing regions with Buenos Aires and other important demand centres. The other primary natural gas transportation company is Transportadora de Gas del Norte (TGN).[1]

International pipeline connections included connections between Bolivia and Argentina (for the import of natural gas), Argentina and Chile, Argentina and Brazil and Argentina and Uruguay.[1]

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5.2. LNG

Energía Argentina Sociedad Anónima (ENARSA), which is the state energy company since 2004, and YPF together are responsible for developing and executing an LNG strategy. They aim to import greater volumes of LNG, as Argentina has suffered severe shortages of natural gas in recent years. Argentina began importing LNG in 2008 with the installation of the Bahía Blanca GasPort. In June 2011, a second LNG regasification facility, financed by YPF and ENARSA, was inaugurated in Escobar.[1]

LNG - Argentina
Site Storage   Regasification   Owner Operator TPA Start-up Source Status
  #Tanks Cap.* #Vaporizers Cap.**            
Bahía Blanco 1 151 6 5.1 Enarsa Bahia Blanco Gasport No 2008 Trinidad & Tobago E
Escobar 1 151 6 5.1 Enarsa GNL Excobar Gasport No 2011 Trinidad & Tobago E
Total 2 302 12 10.2            
c = confidential; - = nill; ..= not available
E = existing; U = under construction; P = proposed
* capacity in m3 x1,000 in LNG
**nominal capacity in bcm/year of gas
Sources: Natural Gas Information (c) OECD/IEA, 2012 & GIIGNL 2012

[2] [3]

Current plans include a cooperation between Argentina and Uruguay to jointly issue a tender for construction of a floating LNG terminal to be located near Montevideo, the supplies from which the two countries would share equally. ENARSA is also engaged in the development of a regasification facility through a partnership with PDVSA, the state oil company of Venezuela. Finally, Argentina and Qatar signed an agreement to study the desirability of constructing a third LNG import terminal that would be supplied with Qatari LNG.[1]

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5.3. Underground Gas Storage

Currently, no underground gas storage facilities exist in Argentina.

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6. Gas market regulation

This section deals with the gas market regulation in upstream, the transmission grid and downstream.

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6.1. Upstream

The Argentinian energy sector is relatively regulated. Regulation in the upstream sector is in the hands of the Secretaría de Energía. Upstream policies includes policies that limit the industry's attractiveness to private investors and that protect consumers from rising prices. The government imposed price controls in 2001 to fight inflation and aid consumers during the economic crisis. These price controls are still in place and cause natural gas to be relatively cheap. Some analysts argue this deters investment and production and overly stimulates consumption. As a consequence, demand for energy in Argentina's rapidly growing economy continues to rise while production of both oil and gas are in decline, which in turn leads to an increasing dependence on energy imports.[1]

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6.2. Networks

Regulation in natural gas transportation and distribution sector is in the hands of the Ente Nacional Regulador de Gas (ENARGAS).[1] 

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6.3. Downstream

Regulation in natural gas transportation and distribution sector is in the hands of the Ente Nacional Regulador de Gas (ENARGAS).[1]

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