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Argentina says wellhead natural gas prices to rise

gas-flare copyBUENOS AIRES: Argentina's wellhead natural gas prices will rise as much as three times on new fields as the energy-hungry South American country seeks to bolster output, President Cristina Fernandez said on Wednesday.


Fernandez, who is keen to lure private investment to bring hefty shale energy resources on stream, said wellhead prices would rise to $7.50 per million British Thermal Units (BTU).


Natural gas prices at the wellhead average about $2.50 per million BTU in the Neuquen basin in southern Argentina, the country's main production zone. Some fields fetch as much as $5 per million BTU.


"We've decided to give incentives for gas production," Fernandez said, adding that the new price would be available for all energy companies that invest to develop new fields in the South American nation.


State-controlled energy company YPF hopes to lure deep-pocketed partners to invest at the Vaca Muerta shale site, which could hold enough energy resources to double Argentina's oil and natural gas output within a decade.


YPF and US-based Chevron Corp signed an accord last month to consider jointly exploring for shale oil and natural gas in the Vaca Muerta field.


The government earlier this month vowed to increase consumer prices for natural gas and electricity.


Copyright Reuters, 2012