The board of a provincial oil company in Argentina is said to have authorised ExxonMobil to farm into an oil and gas block in Neuquen province, home to the promising Vaca Muerta shale, local reports said.
The Rio Negro newspaper reported that the board of Gas y Petroleo (GyP) de Neuquen has greenlighted the US supermajor to pick up half of the 85% stake presently held by Brazil player Petrobras in the Parva Negra Este block.
GyP holds the remaining 15% under a carry agreement.
Financial details were not disclosed but the state-led Petrobras had previously promised investment of $54 million in the shale block.
ExxonMobil did not have an immediate comment. Petrobras nor GyP could be immediately reached for comment by Upstream on Monday afternoon.
The US supermajor already has a stake in 900,000 net acres in the unconventional Vaca Muerta play.
ExxonMobil has drilled seven wells in the play with partners and reported its first operated discovery in May.
The company's Bajo del Choique X-2 well flowed at an average rate of 770 barrels per day on a 12/64 inch choke.
ExxonMobil has a 85% stake in the Bajo del Choique and La Invernada blocks with GyP on 15%.