Spain warns Argentina in spat over oil


Spain has warned Argentina that it could become an ‘international pariah’ if it continues with its plans to re-nationalise the YPF (Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales) oil company.

The company, founded in 1922, was privatised by President Carlos Menem in 1991 with the Spanish company Repsol taking an initial 5% share. This grew over the years until the company was wholly owned by Repsol. In 2011 the shareholding was reduced and currently Repsol owns about 57% of YPF.

The move by the Kirchner government would allow for the state to take around 50.01% of the company and effectively put it back into government hands. The move would break a number of international agreements and would have considerable impact on Repsol which has 43% of its reserves in YPF.

Yesterday Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo summoned Argentine Ambassador Carlo Antonio Bettini to a meeting where he made it clear that Spain would see an attack on Repsol as an assault on the Spanish government. Spain is Argentina’s largest foreign investor. The European Union is backing the moves by Spain

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