Hydraulic fracturing is one of the most widely used well stimulation processes in the world. It allows wells drilled in low permeability reservoirs to attain high productivity. In recent years, this technique has enabled the development of unconventional reservoirs (tight gas and shale gas/oil), thus allowing the generation of a supply of hydrocarbons sufficient to cater for the world's growing demand for energy at moderate prices.

The operation consists of injecting a water-based fluid, trying to reach a pressure that is higher than the natural fracture gradient of the target formation. Once the rock is fractured, a proppant is pumped along with the fluid, which prevents the open fracture from closing when pumping is stopped, maintaining the high conductivity pathways so created.


EExtracting hydrocarbons is not a simple task. A key parameter is the permeability of the reservoir, i.e. the extent to which the microscopic pores containing gas and oil are interconnected with each other. When this interconnection is good, the rock is said to be permeable since hydrocarbons can move inside the rock. This is the case of the so-called "conventional" reservoirs. On the contrary, when the interconnection is bad or nonexistent, we are in the presence of rocks of low or no permeability. This is when we talk about "unconventional" hydrocarbon formations, such as Vaca Muerta. In this case, by injecting a "fracturing fluid", microscopic fissures are opened in the rock, which are propped up with special sand grains to prevent them from closing again. Gas or oil can flow through the spaces between the sand grains and along the fissures, even from completely impermeable formations.



The Vaca Muerta formation contains one of the largest unconventional oil and gas reservoirs on the planet. The quality of the rock is extraordinary, comparable to the best unconventional reservoirs in the United States.

Vaca Muerta has a high hydrocarbon potential, given its large extension (30,000 km2), in addition to geographical factors, as it is located far from urban settlements and under conventional exploitation areas, which allows exploitation with fewer social conflicts and the availability of surface facilities for production.

Thanks to Vaca Muerta, Argentina has the opportunity to become a net exporter of gas and oil, generating quality employment and foreign currency revenues. There is no other project capable of contributing a relevant percentage of the national gas and oil production, with low exploration risk and just in a 1 or 2 year term.