Latin America-focused independent Vista Oil & Gas has agreed to acquire 50% operating stakes in two concessions from Germany’s Wintershall Dea to accelerate development of the Vaca Muerta shale formation in Argentina.

Vista is currently the second-largest producer of unconventional oil in the core onshore play behind only state-owned energy company YPF.

Vista announced it is buying 50% stakes in the Aguada Federal and Bandurria Norte shale oil fields in the Neuquen basin from Wintershall Dea for $140 million.

As part of the agreement, Vista will pay $90 million by 18 January and the remaining $50 million in eight equal quarterly instalments starting in April 2022.

“This deal is a unique opportunity that allow us to continue expanding our leadership in Vaca Muerta and to reaffirm our commitment to its development by incorporating high-potential assets, in which we plan to capture significant operational synergies,” said Vista chief executive Miguel Galuccio.

Through the transaction, Vista will acquire 25,231 net acres near the prolific Bajada del Palo Este field, increasing to 183,084 acres its total position in Vaca Muerta.

“As operators of the blocks, we plan to replicate our operating business model based on efficiency, safety and, mainly, sustainability,” Galuccio added.

Aguada Federal produced 718 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the third quarter of 2021, while Bandurria Norte has been shut down since 2019.

Vista estimates there are up to 150 new well locations to be drilled in each field.

The sale takes place as Wintershall Dea is existing Brazil to focus on projects in selected regions that are in line with the company’s climate targets.

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