Argentina Moves To Take Control Of Spanish Oil Subsidiary

  on April 16 2012 4:39 PM
An aerial view of a shale oil drilling rig SAI-310 in the Patagonian province of Neuquen October 14, 2011.
An aerial view of a shale oil drilling rig SAI-310 in the Patagonian province of Neuquen October 14, 2011. The Patagonia landscape, which was transformed through the discovery of big deposits of hydrocarbons in the 1970s, could experience another energy revolution due to forecasts indicating that they could contain the third largest reservoir of unconventional natural gas in the world REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian

Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez's government is moving forward with a plan to nationalize its largest oil company, currently owned by Spanish company Repsol, deepening a rift between Buenos Aires and Madrid.

The two capitals have been at odds with each other over the past several months following Fernandez's government's progressively aggressive moves to wrest control of YPF from Repsol.

The Spanish company is accused of not doing enough to develop and invest in Argentina's energy resources, and on Monday Fernandez announced that a law has been introduced in the country's legislature that would split a majority of the company's shares between the country's central and provincial governments.

The move is designed to give Argentina control over its own resources, the Associated Press reported.

The country's large deposits of energy resources has led to a rush in that region for energy development.

The Argentine oil company is developing a 150-million-barrel oil field in Patagonia, and the U.S. Geological Survey estimates the country could have as much as 3.6 billion barrels of oil.

If the company is nationalized, it will represent a huge blow to Spanish Repsol. Roughly 42 percent of the company's reserves, or 2.1 billion barrels, are tied to the YPF oil company, the AP reported.

Madrid has previously announced any move by Argentina's government on Repsol's hold on the Argentine subsidiary would be considered an act of aggression.

Fernandez previously announced her government will do whatever it takes to promote her country's energy resources.

Repsol operates in Argentina, Cuba and Venezuela.

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