UK ambassador to Buenos Aires Mark Kent said his country wants "to be a partner" of Argentina in such areas as the development of railways. His comments followed a meeting of a British trade mission with the head of the State Railway Infrastructure Administration (ADIFSE), Ricardo Lissalde, in which they presented projects for railway development, including a train to Vaca Muerta oil shale.
Nearly 200 workers are on strike since Wednesday, claiming better wages, at the biggest fracking sand plant in Vaca Muerta run by state-backed YPF, Argentina's biggest oil and gas producer. While YPF has been increasing its shale oil production, the number of fracking stages in the play fell 26% to 346 in January from 467 in December, and was down from a most recent peak of 676 in August.
The Union of Private Oil and Gas Workers in Neuquén called off a threat to go on strike after companies vowed to not fire 600 workers and suspend another 1,200 while waiting for production to pick up. The agreement was signed by Labour Minister Claudio Moroni at an extensive meeting in which the companies requested a crisis prevention procedure to reduce the burden of employer contributions for at least six months.
The president of the state oil company YPF, Guillermo Nielsen, raised the possibility of connecting Argentina's gas pipeline network with that of southern Brazil, during the World Economic Forum in Davos. The project "would help Argentina deal with a debt that is the largest of the last 30 years," he said. Brazilian Economy Minister Paulo Guedes welcomed the suggestion by saying that "we are going to try to connect with Vaca Muerta".
A total of 6,425 hydraulic fractures were carried out last year in the Vaca Muerta formation, a 33% increase from 4,825 in 2018, according to data provided by NCS Multistage. State-controlled YPF carried out the largest number of fractures by a huge margin with 3,034 in 2019, a 54% increase from the previous year. The 2019 level is almost double than 2016.