Argentina: a merry dance to court over oil rights
'Dead cow' deposits
The company had discovered large oil and gas deposits in the Vaca Muerta (or Dead Cow) basin of Neuquen province, a find that industry experts claim could significantly boost Argentina’s oil reserves, possibly by as much a double current levels. But last week, the Buenos Aires government nationalised the oil field – a move that outraged Repsol and strained relations with ministers in Madrid. The decision also prompted credit agency Standard & Poor’s to put Argentina on ‘negative watch’.
According to AP, industry insiders are convinced Argentina will need expert international help in exploiting the oil reserves, reporting that government officials met last week with executives from France’s Total Austral and Brazil’s Petrobras. Other talks are reported to be planned with US energy giants Chevron and ExxonMobil.
The row and potential legal action have hit Repsol’s share price, which fell by 6 per cent to €10.03 in Madrid at the beginning of this week.