YPF Vice President says that “the best technical and economic location” is being sought for the LNG plant

YPF Vice President says that “the best technical and economic location” is being sought for the LNG plant
YPF Vice President says that “the best technical and economic location” is being sought for the LNG plant

Beyond the tug of war between the governments of Buenos Aires and Río Negro due to the establishment of the Vaca Muerta gas liquefaction plant, the Vice President of Infrastructure, Gustavo Gallinosaid the company and its Malaysian partner Petronas They are still searching for “the best technical and economic location” for their installation.

The work is called to be the main export outlet for Neuquén shale gas in a three-stage plan that could begin in 2027 with the entry into operations of a first liquefier vessel, a second by 2029 and the first on-shore modules of a mega LNG production plant in the first years of the next decade.

In this process of developing the project that has been maturing for several years on the boards of the state company, the VP of infrastructure who arrived together with the management of the current president and CEO of the company Horacio Marinreferred to the details of the work whose Final investment decision will be made “in mid to late 2025”.

Speaking at a conference held at the Buenos Aires headquarters of the Argentine Center of Engineers (CAI)Gallino reaffirmed that this decision will depend on whether there is “firm prices on the things to be done, for which today there are 4 companies working to offer their bids to YPF for a fid (final investment decision) for the floating and onshore facilities.”

On this point, the expert, who played a central role in the construction of the President Néstor Kirchner Gas Pipeline carried out in record time by the Techint company for which he worked at the time, confirmed that the location of the mega export terminal There is still debate between the port area of ​​Bahía Blanca or a point in the San Matías Gulf. Although he clarified that This last alternative is not necessarily Punta Colorada where the port terminal is planned Vaca Muerta Sur Pipeline export complex.

In this regard, Gallino explained that Bahía Blanca and Golfo San Matías are “under technical-economic evaluation for the best equation” and in trying to “demystify the political issue” he insisted that “The decision on the location, together with Petronas, will be based on the best technical and economic location.”

“Bahia has some advantages due to the services developed, but at the same time, Rio Negro requires shorter gas pipelines and less compression, so this technical evaluation has an impact on economic issues”which should contribute to a final decision in the next 12 months, he said.

When developing the details of the work that the current management of the company is promoting as one of the axes of the so-called 4×4 Plan that Marín presented since his arrival to the position, Gallino assured that the magnitude of the project is such that it will allow the country to export at least 30 million tons per year (mtpa), which would place it among the fifth and largest global producing sector in a scenario that is anticipated to be dynamic for the coming years.

Various estimates predict that the world will go from the current 400 MTPA to more than 700 MTPA by 2040, meaning that it will experience very significant growth compared to the supply, which will grow only in a limited way, according to a recent report by the International Group of LNG Importers (GIIGNL).

This shows that the Top 3 leading LNG exporters were the United States, Australia and Qatar, followed by Russia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Algeria, Oman, Brunei, Trinidad and Tobago and the United Arab Emirates, among the most representative.

Given this perspective of the global LNG market and its probable evolution in the next decade, Gallino highlighted the magnitude of the challenge for the industry, which will only need to put into production for its first stage, scheduled for 2027, with the arrival of a liquefier vessel. 500 wells in Phase I with the laying of a 36-inch, 640-kilometer gas pipeline, plus the construction of a 4.5 million tonnes per year (MTPA) treatment plant in Neuquén.

This stage will be followed by a Phase II. with the arrival of a second floating, planned for 2029, which will allow reaching 9 MTPA of liquefied gaswhich will mean a demand for 40 MMm3 of gas dailyand with the development of on shore modules between 2030 and 2035 the country could be exporting between 20 and 30 MTPA depending on the progress of the business, which will mean a scale of 80 to 100 MMm3/d of natural gas, i.e. two thirds of current production.

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