spwm conocophilWintershall Dea, an independent natural gas and oil company, is joining forces with ConocoPhillips to develop the Aguada Federal and Bandurria Norte blocks in the central Argentine province of Neuquén. The blocks have significant unconventional oil and natural gas resources in the Vaca Muerta shale formation.

Under the terms of the agreement, Wintershall Dea will continue as operator of the licenses.

“ConocoPhillips’ extensive know-how developed across unconventional operations in U.S. shale plays complements Wintershall Dea’s technological expertise and decades of local experience. We are excited about this new partnership as it will allow us to expedite the development of the two blocks,” says Thilo Wieland, Wintershall Dea board member responsible for Latin America.

Wintershall Dea has already successfully conducted pilot projects in both blocks. The production testing is currently ongoing.

The transaction is expected to close in 2019, subject to approval by the relevant authorities. As part of the transaction, ConocoPhillips will acquire a 45-percent interest share in the Aguada Federal block situated in the Neuquén basin. Wintershall Dea, as the operator, will retain a 45-percent share in the block (60 square miles). The remaining 10 percent is held by Gas y Petróleo del Neuquén S.A. (GyP). ConocoPhillips will also acquire a 50-percent share in the nearby Bandurria Norte block (65 square miles). Wintershall Dea will retain the other 50 percent and remain operator of the block.