In the midst of macroeconomic difficulties, the SMEs of Vaca Muerta They double down and foresee a future of growth for the hydrocarbon sector. Present at the Expo AOG 2023 in La Rural, the main directors of entities and firms linked to the oil and gas activity gave their vision and perspectives for greater local development.
Oscar Erreteguiof the Dead Cow Cluster, which brings together more than 70 companies from all sectors, assured that today “we are experiencing a moment of great optimism because work really exists, there is activity and everyone, in each of their areas, is growing.” “I think the next challenge is to increase the number of drilling equipment and fracture sets, because most of the works are already in operation, and those that are not are being carried out. With the 30 teams that are drilling and the 10 sets They will not be enough in five years to fill all the pipes and gas pipelines that we are building,” Erretegui warned.
Daniel Gonzalezsecretary of Fecene, the Neuquén federation that brings together 450 companies that employ more than 30,000 people, admitted that “in general for any economic activity in the country it is difficult,” but he stressed that Neuquén is differentiated by the oil industry and the gas and ruled out tensions over electoral issues. “We are happy because we consider that Vaca Muerta, without being a state policy, is considered by almost all candidates as something that is possible to bring in genuine foreign currency.”which are so needed in this country, and also because oil and gas is already being exported and much more will be exported in the future,” he said when asked by this medium.
“There is an energy transition that we know about and we have a window of time in which we have to reinvest that hydrocarbon income, something that all Neuquén businessmen do, such as in olive trees, winegrowing, tourism or real estate projects. We have the commitment beyond the issue of income for income itself, which is reinvestment in Neuquén for productive reconversion” of the province, González stated in dialogue with Ambit.
According to the head of Acipan, a premise for increasing activity is investments. “Unlike other activities, this sector requires very important investments and what investors ask for are clear rules of the game and legal certainty, but so far more or less that is being fulfilled well,” he indicated when reviewing the challenges for the coming years. . One of the advantages was the Buy Neuquén Law. “Before, companies came with a trailer and an invoice book, they took all the income in Neuquén, there was nothing left, that was the gold rush in the United States, but that doesn’t work anymore,” González emphasized.
“With the law it is not that we wire up the province so that no one comes, it is a law that has a polynomial that weighs five terms – such as if you have employees or partners from Neuquén, a physical establishment in Neuquén – and thus, we reach a certain score in which it is considered a Neuquén company, whether it is from abroad, from another province, wherever it is from, it does not matter but it does matter that it is reinvested,” he explained.
Infrastructure demand for Añelo
Cesar Paredesa Real Estate specialist at the firm Inversiones Vaca Muerta, also perceives a great movement, a great development. “New projects are being carried out, we have interesting and new urban planning proposals in Añelo, such as Caminito, Álamos or Tebo. But we are not able to satisfy the industry what it is demanding of us today in terms of beds”, he warned. According to his calculations, today about 20,000 beds are needed in Añelo so that oil tankers do not have to travel almost four hours a day from the field to Neuquén capital. “From a single oil company we have ordered 1,200 beds to build, as the projects are developed this will increase and demand will gradually grow,” he predicted.
Añelo today is a city of 10,000 inhabitants, which by 2030 is projected to have 35,000 inhabitants. And another of the great challenges is to carry out local infrastructure works, such as dual-lane routes or highways and public service networks for electricity, water and, above all, gas. “In other words, everything will be lacking, but we are doing work to try to cover this expectation and this demand,” said Paredes, who at the AOG carried out several rounds of business with investors from all over the country.
Immediately, concerns about imports arise from SMEs. “With the issue of imports, the restrictions on the dollar, it is a little late, I think we should already be taking action on the matter with that,” remarked Erretegui, who also focused on skilled labor. “That is a good problem, because between companies we lose qualified employees, and then salaries increase. We would not be talking about this if Vaca Muerta were not in permanent growth”he stressed.
González warned more about the exchange rate gap than about imports. “We have been getting permits, we have stated that it is a critical activity and that production could be stopped and the Government took note of that. Some of the SIRA were in a waiting queue and others were currently waiting to leave, but at that time sense, we don’t have that much problem. Yes, there are problems with the exchange rate and inflation, but there is no doubt that in general we are happy,” he highlighted.