Argentina creates $2 bln fund to develop Vaca Muerta shale

BUENOS AIRES, April 19 Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:08am EDT

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BUENOS AIRES, April 19 (Reuters) - Argentina has created a fund of up to $2 billion to help develop the country's 7.4-million acre Vaca Muerta shale field, the government announced in its official gazette on Friday.

The funding will come from central bank reserves, which the government also taps periodically to make debt payments.

The development of Vaca Muerta, which means "dead cow" in Spanish, is still in the preliminary stages.

Argentina's state-controlled energy company YPF , U.S. companies Apache Corp and Exxon Mobil and Canada's Americas Petrogas hold exploration rights on nearly 80 percent of the site, according to information compiled from the companies and analysts.

The shale field has caught the attention of investors since it may hold one of the world's biggest unconventional energy resources.

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