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Energy firm Pluspetrol has received Vaca Muerta pilot oil concessions from the local government of the Neuquen province in Argentina, reported Reuters, citing the local government.

The Vaca Muerta shale oil and gas formation is claimed to be the fourth-largest shale oil reserve in the world.

The two concessions areas, Loma Jarillosa Este and Puesto Silva Oeste, cover a total area of approximately 25km².

The concessions will be focused primarily on oil production and are estimated to receive an investment of $452m, subject to ‘good results’.

The award of the two concessions forms part of Argentina’s wider efforts to boost domestic production from the Vaca Muerta oil and gas shale formation.

Under the long-term plan, the South American country aims to become a liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter.

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By GlobalData

Neuquen Governor Omar Gutierrez was quoted by Reuters as saying: “We continue to work and move forward to meet the goals we have set for this year: 50 hydrocarbon concessions.

“We have to beat the oil production record, which is 308,000 barrels per day of oil. Last year, we were able to meet the forecasts and I am sure that this year we will meet it too.”

In a separate development, Venezuela’s state company PDVSA has halted gasoline production at the Amuay refinery, reported Reuters, citing five people familiar with the matter.

The 645,000 barrels of oil per day refinery forms part of the Paraguana Refinery Center (CRP) and it suspended operations on 2 July 2022, following an electrical fault that triggered a blackout.

One of the sources said: “Blackout in the Amuay refinery. An electrical problem. Total blackout. In Amuay, the distilling and catalytic plants might be affected, which is currently producing about 80% of the country’s gasoline.”