Apache Corporation announced government approvals of new contracts to supply 50 million cubic feet (MMcf) of natural gas per day from two fields in Argentina’s Neuquen and Rio Negro provinces at a price of $5 per million British thermal units (MMBtu). “The new contracts – the first approved by the secretary of energy under the government’s Gas Plus program – are examples of Argentine government policies that will encourage development of  tight and unconventional natural gas reservoirs and bring new supplies of much needed energy to market,” said Jon Graham, president of Apache Argentina. During the second quarter, Apache produced 193 MMcf of gas per day in Argentina at an average price of $1.89 per Mcf, including sales to regulated residential and power generation markets as well as deregulated industrial markets. Regulators recently approved price increases in the residential and power generation sectors. The Gas Plus contracts will commence in January 2011, although the customer – a power plant operator – has indicated it may begin taking gas in mid-2010. To fulfill the contract, Apache is planning to drill up to 12 wells to tap deep unconventional natural gas reservoirs in the Anticlinal Campamento field in the Neuquen Basin – a complex geologic setting which requires drilling highly deviated wellbores completed with multiple hydraulic fracture stimulations. At the Estacion Fernandez Oro field in Rio Negro province, Apache is planning to drill up to 36 wells, each with multiple hydraulic fracture stimulations, to develop the low-permeability Lower Lajas sandstone formation at a depth of 12,500 feet.  Apache will provide measurement and production facilities for the Gas Plus volumes separate from the rest of the fields’ production facilities. “These reserves would not be developed without the incentives of the Gas Plus program,” Graham said. “Apache has submitted five additional development projects for approval under Gas Plus.” Apache Corporation is a large oil and gas independent with operations in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom sector of the North Sea, Egypt, Australia and Argentina.

(Apache Press Release)