Massa says the new gas plan will save US$ 2.2 billion in energy subsidies next year

The Minister of Economy awarded contracts to 12 companies and announced a record-high gas production for 2023.

by Facundo Iglesia
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The Minister of Economy, Sergio Massa, launched this Thursday stages 4 and 5 of the “Gas Plan” which will extend up until 2028 and, according to official calculations, and represent savings  of US$ 2.2 million in energy subsidies next year as well as US$3,5 billion in exports. The plan is designed to incentivize gas production, avoid the volatility of international markets and guarantee investments in oil basins such as Vaca Muerta and the filling of the Néstor Kirchner gasoduct.

In an event held in the Centro Cultural Kirchner, Massa awarded the contracts to 12 companies: YPF, Shell, Pampa Energía, PAE, CGC, Pluspetrol, Tecpetrol, Total, Exxon Mobil, Petrobras, Vista and Wintershall Dea. Energy Secretary Flavia Royón and Chubut governor Mariano Arcioni participated in the event. Neuquén Governor Omar Gutiérrez and the CEO of PAE, Marcos Bulgheroni, also attended virtually.

“The most important thing this program produces is a change in Argentina’s GDP matrix,” said Massa. “In 2026, if we drive this program forward, the hydrocarbon industry will have the same weight on our international reserves and our trade balance than all of the soybean industry”.

With a calculated total savings of US$ 46,5 billion from 2023 to 2028, Massa considered that the plan “puts Argentina in front of the greatest opportunity to build fiscal order over the base of having aligned a strategic resource, private investment and public incentives”. According to his calculations, stages 4 and 5 “mean 10,000 jobs”. 

Royón highlighted that the sector will conclude the year with a “US$ 5 billion deficit” but considered that in 2024, it will have an ballanced trade balance. She also said that in Q2 2023, “we will have a historical record in gas production”. According to official calculations, after the launch of the first section of the Néstor Kirchner gasoduct, the natural gas production is projected at 145 m3 per day in the winter of 2023, an 8% annual boost. Moreover, the government calculates that the companies plan to close the year with US$ 7.8 billion in upstream investments –gas exploration and production—, 34% more than in 2021. 

YPF president, Pablo González, said to the  newsagency, that the company is “very happy with the results of stages 4 and 5 because it will allow the country to provision itself of gas with prices under international ones, when the world is going through an energy crisis.” “In this bidding, YPF made the biggest effort,” added González and mentioned that the state company “will guarantee more than half of the gas supply for winter 2024, the moment of highest demand”.

Marcelo Mindlin, CEO of Pampa Energía, considered that “for years, gas producers have been  asking for a path with predictable prices and the building of the dasoduct , two crucial issues for Vaca Muerta. This government delivered and the industry responded with great investments and a lot of competence”.

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