Estimated to cost between $1.2bn and $1.5bn, the rail line will also transport sand for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking
PowerChina is reportedly planning to build railway in Argentina to move crude oil and natural gas from the Vaca Muerta shale region to the port city of Bahia Blanca.
Stretching over an area of 30,000km², the Vaca Muerta shale basin is situated in the Neuquen Basin in Northern Patagonia.
The basin is claimed to hold the one of the largest shale gas reserves and oil reserves in the world.
PowerChina Argentina president Tu Shuiping was reported by Reuters as saying in an interview that the company is negotiating with Argentina’s state-owned rail entity ADIF for the development of the new rail project.
New rail line to connect petrochemical and refinery hub with the isolated shale region
The planned rail line is expected to serve as crucial link connecting the petrochemical and refinery hub and the isolated shale region in the country.
Tu said: “There is a concrete plan that we have been working on for almost two years. We were talking with people from ADIF to see how the project can be presented and then seek joint financing.”
He noted that the China could provide the financing support for the project, which is estimated to cost between $1.2bn and $1.5bn.
Argentina Ministry of Transportation spokesman was reported by the news agency as saying: “There is dialogue with many companies” for Vaca Muerta infrastructure, but plans are undefined at the moment.
The rail line can also be used to ship food as well as sand for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, Tu added.
Last year, ExxonMobil announced its decision to move ahead with the long-term development of Bajo del Choique-La Invernada block in Vaca Muerta Basin.
The Bajo del Choique-La Invernada block is located about 93km northwest of Añelo and 183km northwest of Neuquén city.