Solomon Benchmarking

Vaca Muerta Study

Assess Planning, Cost, and Uptime Performance Against Peers

In the Vaca Muerta, improving the efficiency of Drilling, Completions, Construction, Production Operations, and Well Delivery Planning is more important today than ever. Identifying which costs areas offer the greatest potential for optimization is not easy, nor is identifying whether field operations are operating at maximum efficiency and uptime.

Solomon Upstream developed the Operational Performance Analysis of the Vaca Muerta for Operating Year 2019 (2019 Vaca Muerta Study) to help operators identify areas of opportunity in the shale well delivery cycle from initial pad construction through to well put on line (POL). The well delivery process efficiency is analyzed in addition to the operational and cost performance in Drilling, Completions, Construction, and Production Operations.

Why Choose Solomon's Vaca Muerta Study?

The study highlights direct planning efficiency, operational efficiency, and cost reduction opportunities, with many companies capturing large operational cost savings.

As a participant, you receive:

  • A detailed analysis for operations in the Vaca Muerta
  • Measures of well delivery efficiency
  • Measures of average drilling, completions, and construction productivity
  • Measures of average well productivity and employee productivity
  • Identification and ranking of reliability issues that result in production losses
  • Diagnostics for your company using cost performance signals by cost category, including water handling, compression, and artificial lift
  • Compressor rent cost evaluation and compressor fuel gas utilization
  • An analysis of direct and indirect support costs
  • Identification of key under-performing areas, enabling your team to focus on appropriate solutions to optimize costs and maximize production

Key Features of Leading Operators

The leading operators in the Vaca Muerta that maximize profitability and operational excellence performance share many common characteristics, including:

  • Access to acreage in the “sweet spot” of the basin
  • Ownership of contiguous acreage, facilitating long well laterals and infrastructure efficiency
  • Good relationships with other operators, facilitating cross unit wells where necessary, and non-operating working interest in a portfolio of wells. Operated by Other (OBO) wells are a competitive source of operating and technical information.
  • Maintain a clear strategy on company-provided integrated services and contracting of services
  • Use value-adding technology in the complete well delivery process

Successful Vaca Muerta operators demonstrate effective skills in drilling, completions, construction, and production operations such as:

  • Drilling, completing, operating and working over wells safely and at competitive costs
  • Uncovering cost-effective completion designs to give the maximum well rate of return (ROR)
  • Standardizing well pad, wellbore, completion and well site facilities designs
  • Accessing cost-effective sources of water for completion operations
  • Managing off-pad and off-lease completion activities to minimize well frac hit problems
  • Managing the well delivery manufacturing process from location construction to first oil to minimize overall project delivery time
  • Installing the most efficient and effective artificial lift method(s) in a timely and cost-efficient manner
  • Accessing cost-effective solutions for produced water disposal
  • Managing well fluid characteristics (high oil API or RVP) to minimize any product pricing discounts
  • Maximizing well initial production to ensure maximum production volumes as quickly as possible
  • Incorporating SCADA systems, Integrated Operations Surveillance Centres, production and loss reporting to “pump by exception”

These operators also are able to:

  • Maintain high production reliability in both the hot summer and freezing winter temperatures
  • Access competitive and reliable midstream solutions
  • Access low-pressure gas gathering or centralized compression facilities
  • Recruit and retain competent production operations teams


The 2019 Vaca Muerta Study benchmarking report will include, but not be limited to, providing clients feedback and insights on:

    Drilling operations 

  • Feet per day performance
  • Days per 1,000 feet performance
  • Cost per foot performance
  • Cost per day performance
  • Non-productive time (NPT) % perf.
  • Average well lateral length
  • Well re-spud performance

    Well completion operations

  • Stages per day performance
  • Cost per stage performance
  • Cost per day performance
  • Water access cost per barrel performance
  • NPT performance
  • Average well number of stages
  • Stages per well and completions size per spacing
  • Sand pumped per well and sand pumped per stage
  • Produced water per freshwater usage

    Site construction

  • Pad civil construction cost per well
  • Pad facilities cost per well
  • Pipeline connection cost per pad

    Production operations

  • Planned and unplanned production efficiency
  • Lifting cost per barrel of oil equivalent performance
  • Maintenance costs performance
  • Pumpers per well performance
  • Flowback cost per well performance
  • Well tube-up cost per well performance
  • Water disposal cost per barrel performance
  • Well frac hit percentage performance
  • Well servicing additional production per cost performance


  • HSE performance including vehicle accident performance
  • Well POL time
  • “White space” per operational time POL performance
  • Well spacing and stacking data
  • OBO well per operating well percentage

Study Benefits

Participation in the 2019 Vaca Muerta Study benefits your company by providing you the opportunity to:

  • Identify how the Leading Operators are performing
  • Identify your areas of operational strength   
  • Identify your best opportunities for improvement
  • Obtain a better understanding of operations performance and drivers of costs

Contact us today to participate or learn more.