Argentina's Chubut region sees more shale wells after initial find

BUENOS AIRES Thu May 22, 2014 7:27pm EDT

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BUENOS AIRES May 22 (Reuters) - At least 15 more shale oil and gas wells will be drilled in Argentina's southern Chubut province over the next three years, a provincial official said on Thursday, a day after its first first shale discovery was made public.

Argentina's state-controlled energy company YPF announced Chubut's first shale oil and gas discovery on Wednesday in the San Jorge basin. It comes at a time of rising interest in the vast Vaca Muerta shale field in Neuquen province, also in southern Argentina.

"There are a lot of areas available for exploration," Chubut's top energy official, Ezequiel Cufre, said.

YPF is set to drill 11 more wells over the coming three years, while local company Tecpetrol drills another four, Cufre said.

San Jorge is located more than 600 miles (1,000 km) southeast of Vaca Muerta, where U.S. energy major Exxon Mobil Corp this week said it made its first discovery of non-conventional gas and crude oil. (Reporting by Alejandro Lifschitz; Editing by Tom Brown)

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