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A Repsol exploration rig in the Argentinian province of NeuquenENRIQUE MARCARIAN/Reuters

Repsol YPF SA announced its largest-ever oil discovery on Monday, doubling its proven reserves in Argentina and increasing by a third the amount of recoverable oil claimed worldwide by the Spanish-Argentine energy company.

"This changes the map for Argentina," company spokesman Kristian Rix said, calling the discovery "transformational" for the company as well.

Repsol YPF is based in Spain but operates in more than 30 countries around the world. As of Monday, Argentina is home to two-thirds of its three billion barrels of proven oil reserves, up from half.

The discovery includes 927 million barrels of recoverable resources, 741 million of which is oil. That's enough to turn Argentina into an energy-exporting nation, Mr. Rix told the Associated Press in a phone call from Madrid.

President Cristina Fernandez celebrated the discovery in May of a huge shale oil deposit in the Vaca Muerta, or Dead Cow, basin of Argentina's Neuquen province, but less than 10 per cent of it had been explored at the time.

Repsol YPF owns rights to 12,000 square kilometres of the 30,000 square kilometre basin, but like other oil companies, has only begun to search them. The resources announced Monday were found while exploring an area of just 428 square kilometres known as Loma la Lata.

The company now plans to expand its drilling in a nearby area of about the same size that shows similar potential, Mr. Rix said.