March 30, 2017 / 3:27 PM / a year ago

Argentina's YPF, Total, partners to invest $500 mln in Vaca Muerta

BUENOS AIRES, March 30 (Reuters) - Argentina’s state-run oil company YPF SA will make a joint $500 million shale gas investment with Pan American Energy LLC, Total Austral SA and Wintershall Energía SA in the Vaca Muerta formation, according to a Thursday securities filing.

The companies were already operating in the Aguada Pichana area and are now asking regulators to split it in two.

“If approved, Total will be in charge of the (eastern area) and Pan American Energy will take over the western area,” YPF said in the filing.

YPF would reduce its stake in the areas while also making a $52.3 million investment, the statement said.

The statement did not say how much the other companies would invest. Total Austral SA is part of French energy firm Total while Pan American Energy LLC is a unit of BP.

President Mauricio Macri’s government is trying to encourage investment in Vaca Muerta, one of the world’s largest shale formations, in hopes of ending Argentina’s energy deficit.

Tecpetrol, part of Techint Group, said last week it would invest $2.3 billion in the area through 2019, the largest oil and gas announcement in Argentina in years. (Reporting by Eliana Raszewski; Writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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