Argentina’s state-run energy company YPF said Thursday it has finalized a deal with Norway’s Statoil to jointly explore and develop a block targeting Vaca Muerta, the country’s largest shale play. Statoil will take a 50% stake in Bajo del Toro, a 38,800-acre block in the southwestern province of Neuquen, home to most of the play’s acreage, YPF said in a filing with the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange. YPF said it will retain the rest of the shares in the block and continue as the operator. The companies first agreed to the project last August, pending further evaluation on both sides. The final step now is for YPF to get approval from the Neuquen government to farm in 50% of Bajo del Toro to Statoil, YPF said. It did not say how long this could take. Once the project starts, Statoil will pay $30 million to YPF and handle the […]