A showdown over control of an oil company is pitting Argentina
against its former colonial ruler, Spain. The bone of contention
is an Argentinian company that the government may seize from
Spanish oil major Repsol.
The Spanish company is being accused by Argentinian President
Cristina Fernandez's government of not reinvesting enough money
into developing the nation's oil supplies, while paying out too
much in profits, reported the
Repsol reported a net income of 2.193 billion euros in 2011, a
more than 50 percent drop from the year before, the company
Fernandez has previously announced her government will do
whatever it can to promote and develop local energy resources.
But the president hasn't explicitly mentioned if her government
intends to wrest YPF, majority-owned by Repsol, from Spanish
Madrid has warned Argentina that if it seizes the company,
Spain will view it as an act of aggression, the AP reported.
Spain's Foreign minister has called a meeting with the
Argentinian ambassador seeking clarification on Argentina's
Government officials have considered nationalizing YPF since
Repsol owns 57 percent of YPF, but under a proposed Argentine
law, 50.1 percent of the company could be deemed a public good
and thus subject to government control, the AP reported.
Eduardo Fellner, the governor of Argentina's Jujuy province,
however, said that no such law was being drafted. "Everything is
under review," Fellner said, according to
, following a meeting he and other governors from oil-producing
regions had Thursday with President Fernandez. "There is no legal
proposal yet, there are just press rumors."
Argentina in recent years has experienced a rush of energy
development, as large deposits of shale oil were found in
YPF announced last year it had discovered, and will start
developing, a 150 million-barrel oil field. The U.S. Geological
Survey reports there could be as much as 3.6 billion barrels of
oil yet to be found in Argentina, though much of the country
Repsol is also active in oil exploration in Brazil, Venezuela
and most recently, off the coast of Cuba.