YPF, Total, Wintershall, and BP have announced a USD 1.15-billion joint investment to increase shale gas production in Argentina. The provincial government in Neuquén, where the resource-rich Vaca Muerta Shale is located, has agreed to split the Aguada Pichana area into two parts and combine it with the Aguada de Castro area. Total, with a 41% stake, will operate the eastern Aguada Pichana section, where 48 horizontal wells are planned through 2021. BP’s Pan American Energy unit, with a 45% stake, will operate the western section and the Aguada de Castro area, where 24 horizontal wells are planned. The investments are expected to more than double natural gas production in the area to 4.5 million m3/d.