BUENOS AIRES, April 20 (Reuters) - Argentine natural gas production rose in February versus the same month last year, but output of crude oil extended 2014 losses into the first two months of 2015, the country’s energy secretariat said on Monday.
Natural gas output rose 1.2 percent in February to 3.23 million cubic meters while crude production fell 2.1 percent to 2.35 million cubic meters, the secretariat said in a statement.
The country’s year-on-year natural gas output rose in January while oil production fell.
“International crude prices have fallen over the last year, so it’s logical that oil output has been affected,” said Sebastian Scheimberg, energy analyst with Buenos Aires consultancy Montamat & Associates.
In 2014, the country’s natural gas output fell 0.5 percent and crude production fell 1.4 percent as a slump in private production outweighed gains in output by state energy company YPF.
Argentina is running an energy deficit, which the government wants to close by attracting investment to the vast but mostly untapped Vaca Muerta shale oil and gas field in Patagonia.
President Cristina Fernandez’s interventionist policies have scared even the most risk-hungry companies out of making anything but foothold investments in what is viewed as one of the biggest shale reserves in the Western Hemisphere. (Reporting by Eliana Raszewski; Editing by Alan Crosby)