June 3, 2019 / 12:39 AM / in 15 days

YPF prepares first shipment of liquefied natural gas from Argentina

BUENOS AIRES, June 2 (Reuters) - Argentine oil company YPF SA said on Sunday that it began loading the first shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for export from Argentina.

The shipment includes 30,000 cubic metres of LNG from the Vaca Muerta shale play, YPF said in a statement.

“This is the first step of a process that YPF is leading to export and expand gas markets to the world,” Marcos Browne, executive vice president of gas and electric power for YPF, said in the statement.

The export of LNG will generate revenues of more than $200 million a year, which represents 10% of its total fuel and energy exports, according to YPF data.

YPF did not specify the destination of the shipment, which would be ready by mid-week, but said the sales operation was in the hands of U.S. firm Cheniere Energy Inc.

Argentina seeks to become one of the few exporting countries of LNG through international sales of leftover gas in summer periods when local demand is lower, boosting the flow of dollars into the country.

About the size of Belgium, Vaca Muerta represents the world’s second-largest gas reserve and the fourth-largest non-conventional oil reserve.

Argentina is a net gas producer, with most output coming from Vaca Muerta. President Mauricio Macri, who was elected in 2015, has sought to increase energy production to counter an energy trade imbalance that began in 2011. (Reporting by Nicolas Misculin; Writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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