* At Camp Loma Campana, in Vaca Muerta, there are some 4,000 workers involved in the operation: operators of drilling and stimulation equipment, well walkers, road builders, environmental supervisors, engineers and drivers.
* In a well you work 24 hours, because it is “too expensive to have it stopped.” The workers take 12-hour shifts for 14 days in a row and then rest seven.
* In Loma Campana, the state oil company YPF, Yacimientos Petrolíferos Federales, works in partnership with Chevron.
* Vaca Muerta is the first commercial shale oil deposit in the world outside of North America, with a production of about 43,000 barrels per day in 2015.
* A conventional well could cost about two million dollars, while an unconventional one cost almost seven million in 2015 and eleven million in 2011. The profitability goal for YPF was then down to five million. How? “Making more and more wells”.
* The drilling tower is 54 m. High. Inside, the workers control the work through monitors. They must drill 3,000 m. down to reach the rock of Vaca Muerta, which has 400 m. wide against 30 m. of the United States.
* The drill bit is 6 inches in diameter. You start with 12 in the first 350 m. and it gets smaller as it goes deeper into the subsoil.
* Once the hole is made it is intubated with steel pipes and sealed with cement “to avoid any type of filtration”.
* The perforation lasts almost a month, depending on the complications that may arise. In the case of a horizontal well, when a certain level is reached, the drill goes turning to the side, drawing a curve and advances about 200 m. to make the most of the potential of the rock.
* Once the task is finished, it is not necessary to disarm and reassemble the tower because it “walks” to drill another well. The speed of translation is 10 m. per hour.
* The wells should be about 350 m. to avoid problems or leaks during stimulation.
* When you reach this stage, the activity multiplies. There are up to a hundred people in the well, and there are 15 to 20 trucks with motors connected to hoses, ready to introduce a mixture of water, a special sand and chemicals at very high pressure into the well.
* The noise is deafening. Engineers measure what happens below with sensors placed in nearby wells. “We have seismographs with which we see how formations react to stimulation.”
* The stimulation is repeated for four days, between 10 and 15 times, depending on the size of the well. Finally, the area is sealed with a special material and reapplied in another area.
* The fissures that are generated drain to the pipes, where oil or gas comes out, which is sent directly by pipes that travel tens of kilometers to the plants where the fuels are separated and stored.
* In total, it is two months of work 24 hours to put a well in operation.
* During the first three years there is usually “natural upwelling”, then you must use a traditional pumping device.
* Once in operation, a well can produce for three decades. But all this is not known for sure, because no well is old enough to prove it.