Argentina moved one step closer to becoming an exporter of LNG, following the arrival on 6 February of the first floating liquefaction unit to operate in the Americas.
Tango FLNG, owned by Belgium-based Exmar, was transported from China on the semi-submersible heavy transport ship Forte and berthed at Bahia Blanca, Argentina. The FLNG unit will operate under a 10-year contract signed in November 2018 to produce LNG for Argentina’s largest oil and gas producer YPF. With a storage capacity of 16,100 m3, Tango FLNG will produce 0.5 mta.
YPF will use Tango FLNG to liquefy gas from the Vaca Muerta, which has one of the largest deposits of shale oil and gas in the world. The US Energy Information Administration estimates that Vaca Muerta’s shale gas reserves are second only to Eagle Ford in the US.
Floating liquefaction seems to be an ideal solution for Argentina, which currently lacks the gas pipelines and liquefaction plants necessary to export LNG over long distances.
Before it produces its first LNG cargo in Q2 2019, Tango FLNG must undergo outfitting and commissioning. Once fully operational, YPF estimates it will generate sales of US$200M per year — representing about 10% of Argentina’s total exports of fuel and energy.
At the time of the signing in November, Exmar chief executive Nicolas Saverys said the company was “very excited about this project, since it opens new markets and accelerates the monetisation of extensive natural gas reserves in Argentina."