Federico Moreno / fmoreno@lanueva.com

As part of his visit to sign an unprecedented energy agreement whereby YPF Luz will supply Profertil with clean energy for a period of 21 years, YPF's president, Miguel Gutiérrez, clarified doubts about which port is naturally destined to be the door for the growth of Vaca Muerta and renewable energy in general.

"I would say it is obvious that the natural port is Bahia, for YPF it is. It's where we have our operations, where we are today, and it also makes sense if you look at the basin from Neuquén, going through Río Negro and arriving here. To that we must add all the facilities we already have, here are Profertil, Mega, all the petrochemical center in general, "said Gutiérrez.

The president of the state oil company also ratified the role of Bahía Blanca as a gateway to Patagonia justifying "the supply, of which Bahia is the entrance, the project of the Norpatagónico train, the arrival of the sands for the activity of hydraulic stimulation and the rest of the necessary supplies for the development of Vaca Muerta. "

Gutiérrez was part of this week's signing of the agreement whereby YPF Luz – the company's sustainable electric power part – will provide clean energy to the country's main granulated urea production plant.

Pettarin, Gutiérrez and Mandarano.

Together with the CEO of YPF Luz, Martín Mandarano, and Profertil's manager, Daniel Pettarin, gave the figures of the agreement, among which stands out that from now on the plant located in Ingeniero White will use 60% renewable energies, which given the preponderance of Profertil in the national fertilizer market implies that 50% of wheat and corn in Argentina will be produced with these energies.

"The Argentine countryside is growing and the consumption of fertilizers also. Even the dose of fertilizer that is applied in the Argentine countryside does not compensate the nutrient that the plant takes, with which the demand in Argentina is going to increase, "said Pettarin.

"The same in Brazil, which has a demand about 10 times greater than that of Argentina and imports 80% of what it consumes. And with respect to the use of renewable energy, it will definitely replace the conventional one because not only is it cheaper, but it is convenient in terms of sustainability, which is what both Profertil and YPF point to as companies, "added the manager.

From importer to exporter

After 10 years and with the presence of President Mauricio Macri on the dock of the Mega company, on Monday the regasification ship left the local port. Signado as a symbol of the poor energy management of previous governments, his departure was considered a step forward for the country, thanks to Vaca Muerta aims to self-supply completely in the short term.

And when it comes to "occupying the space" that has just been released at the Mega dock, the Government's announcement is that not only through Bahía Blanca will not more liquefied natural gas be imported (LNG), but the idea is that from the first semester of 2019 this product is exported, taking advantage of the escalation of the commodity in the international market.

On this possibility, Gutiérrez anticipated: "We are going to come between February and April with a barge that is going to export gas for 2,000,000 cubic meters, they are all tactical movements that should lead us to meet in 5 to 7 years with a LNG terminal and that Bahía Blanca is the great outlet of Vaca Muerta to the world ".

"The countries that export liquefied gas to the world are not more than 10, to enter this select club is very important and I think that sometimes we do not realize the path we are going through. Additionally, it is necessary to say that it is multi-million dollar investments. Here is also all the development of the industrialization of that gas, in the petrochemical value chain, in the LNG plant, the agro-chemical chain, the development of the pipes necessary for the transport of that gas, that is, basically we have it within reach hand in hand something very important, not only for this area and the provinces of Río Negro and Neuquén, but for the whole country. "

A gas at a competitive price?

Regarding the fact that Argentina stops importing gas and self-supplied with Vaca Muerta, without this meaning a drop in consumer rates, the president of YPF explained "that the price of residential gas is subsidized and that all these subsidies do not cover the cost of gas, and that gas from Argentina is one of the cheapest in the world. "

"To give you an idea, while in Brazil the price of gas is 12 dollars and in the United States it is 3.25 dollars, in Argentina it is 4.5 dollars. I think we have to take dimension of that. "

"Then there is the issue of how residential demand is managed and what is the level of subsidies that national or provincial governments want to give, but it is clear that we could not be thinking of an LNG terminal if the gas we are going to export does not out competitive in the world. Today the countries that export have a value very similar to ours, "Gutiérrez said.

On the potential of the southwest of Buenos Aires in renewable energies, both Mandarano and Gutiérrez explained that the possibility of YPF Luz building a wind farm in Bahia or the area in the coming years exists, or at least it is not ruled out.

"We look at projects everywhere, if one appeared in Bahia we would look at it without any problem, the technique and quality of the winds, the transport capacity, the availability of transport, etc. will be measured".

"In fact, in addition to those we have in Neuquén, Santa Cruz, Chubut or Tucumán, now we must add Los Teros Park, which is being done in the province of Buenos Aires."

Finally, and in that same sense, they said that companies such as Vestas or Nordex-Acciona have already started assembling equipment in Argentina, which could be a first step so that the necessary equipment for the installation of wind farms begins to be built here .

"Argentina has all the conditions to do it, it's a matter of these companies that own the technology decide to settle here, something that will happen to the extent that they find scale here," said Gutiérrez.


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