Argentina's YPF says needs billions to revive output

Tue Jun 5, 2012 8:27pm EDT
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By Karina Grazina

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina's state-controlled energy company YPF will need to invest $7 billion a year to boost flagging natural gas and oil output by more than a quarter by 2017, the new chief executive said on Tuesday.

Center-left President Cristina Fernandez seized control of YPF (YPFD.BA: Quote)(YPF.N: Quote) from Repsol (REP.MC: Quote) in April, accusing the Spanish oil major of investing too little and making the country increasingly reliant on pricey imports.

Chief Executive Miguel Galuccio - a former executive at global oilfield services giant Schlumberger Ltd - said YPF's plans to reverse the nation's energy deficit would require an annual investment of $7.0 billion from 2013 through 2017.

Most of that would come from the company's own resources, he said as he outlined plans to reverse dwindling production at mature fields and start tapping the country's world-class Vaca Muerta shale resource.

"We need to be realistic. Although I'd like to be able to double the production of (natural) gas and fuel overnight, I'm not a magician. In this industry, every extra barrel requires investment, technology and above all, hard work," he said.

"YPF needs to recover its leadership and vision in the country," he said in a speech to launch the corporate plan, vowing to make the company "professional and competitive."

Galuccio said 1,000 wells would be drilled next year - a level not reached by the company since 1996 - as the company aims to push up annual energy production by 6 percent each year starting this year.

That would represent a 26 percent increase by 2017 to reach 216 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe).   Continued...

A flag with the YPF logo is waved in front of the Argentine Congress in Buenos Aires, April 25, 2012. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci