McDermott International has bagged a contract for pre-front-end engineering design (pre-feed) services from YPF for an LNG liquefaction facility at the Vaca Muerta Shale field in Argentina.

The LNG liquefaction facility, which will have a capacity of five million tonnes per annum (mtpa), will be designed to enable a potential expansion to 10mtpa.

McDermott’s scope in the Vaca Muerta project

Under the contract, McDermott’s scope of work will be a continuation of a conceptual study developed in the past for the YPF LNG Export Facility in Argentina as per a contract in 2018.

McDermott said that its London office will be used for providing the engineering services while its Houston office will undertake project management and estimation services.

According to the company, the LNG project will promote the development of the Vaca Muerta Shale field located in the Neuquen region. The company expects to begin the contract work with immediate effect.

McDermott North, Central and South America senior vice president Mark Coscio said: “The award of this Pre-FEED project is a testimony of McDermott’s technical expertise in LNG and our successful partnership with YPF over the years.

“Our experience as the EPC contractor for the Peru LNG Facility in which YPF was involved – combined with McDermott’s modularization capabilities – were key factors that made us uniquely qualified to win and execute this contract.”

The Vaca Muerta is a 30,000km² geological formation in which YPF has stakes across an area spanning 12,000 km², covering the Loma Campana shale oil and gas field, in addition to the La Amarga Chica and El Orejano projects.

The Loma Campana field produces 40,000 BOE per day and has seen more than 300 wells drilled by YPF in partnership with Chevron, Petronas, and Dow. The four partners intend to invest nearly $25bn (£20bn) in Vaca Muerta over the next few years.