Six months after bursting on to the Mexican stock market with the third-biggest initial public offering since 2015 and the promise to become a Latin American energy champion, Vista Oil & Gas has sealed its first acquisition and is planning an aggressive 400-well drilling programme in Argentina’s Vaca Muerta shale formation.

The company, led by Miguel Galuccio, the former chief executive of Argentine state company YPF, announced it had acquired 99.7 per cent in Petrolera Entre Lomas, or Pelsa, for $700m, giving it production of 27,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day and a swath of Vaca Muerta acreage which Vista aims to bring into production next year.  “This operative platform, with a mix of cash flow-generating assets and high-growth ready-to-develop core Vaca Muerta acreage, will be the cornerstone to delivering on our vision of making Vista a leader in Latin America,” Mr Galuccio said.

The acquisition of Pelsa, previously owned jointly by Pampa Energía and Pluspetrol, vaults Vista into position as Mexico’s only listed exploration and production company and one of the top 10 oil producers in Argentina. Pelsa has been producing assets in the Neuquén basin, including one operated by Shell unit O&G Developments. The company is expected to post 2017 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $182m. Vista, which is backed by Mr Galuccio and energy-focused private equity firm Riverstone, raised $650m in a Mexican IPO last August when it was launched as a special purpose acquisition company.