HOUSTON—Economic woes and political uncertainty could further impede growth of Argentina’s promising Vaca Muerta Shale, but the biggest bottleneck may be something with a more direct impact: proppant.

That’s according to a Rystad Energy analyst who spoke Sept. 18 at the Gastech Exhibition & Conference.

“We think this is the biggest bottleneck that prevents the Vaca Muerta from growing at that same exponential curve that we saw in a lot of the U.S. plays,” said Ryan Carbrey, senior vice president for global market intelligence for Rystad Energy. “You can’t really get proppant into the play very quickly. You have to truck it in from 600 or a thousand kilometers.”

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