Argentina warns UK company over involvement in Falklands’ oil production
Argentina will take legal actions against Britain's Premier Oil after the company agreed to invest 1 billion dollars to help develop an oil field off the disputed Falkland Islands, Argentina's Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
Last week, Premier said it would partner with Rockhopper Exploration, a company that discovered oil north of the Falklands in 2010, paying an initial 231 million dollars in cash and providing around 770 million dollars to help build infrastructure to secure a 60% stake in the Sea Lion field where the strike took place.
Argentina told Premier it had taken legal action against “clandestine” Rockhopper's illegal oil exploration activities on the Argentine continental shelf.
Likewise, the Argentine government informed Premier Oil that the government ... will initiate administrative, civil and penal action against it with regard to these activities, a statement by the Foreign Ministry said.
In March, Argentina vowed to take oil firms active in the Falklands, and other companies providing support and services to them, to the local courts for what it sees as illicit drilling in disputed territory.
A copy of the letter addressed to Premier Oil was delivered to the British embassy in Buenos Aires. In the letter the Argentine Foreign ministry indicates that similar actions have been started against Argos Resources LTD, Falkland Oil and Gas Limited (FOGL), Borders & Southern Petroleum PLC and Desire Petroleum PLC, also involved in “illicit” hydrocarbons activities in the South Atlantic
The Foreign ministry also points out to Premier that as with the other “clandestine” companies, the illicit activities will be reported to the stock exchanges of New York and London and requests that the regulatory bodies inform that these companies have been omitting information or providing erroneous data to markets.
Finally a copy of the letter will also be distributed among country members of Mercosur, Unasur, Celac and the Argentine courts, concludes the Argentine release.
Last week, Premier's Finance director, Tony Durrant, played down the risks.
I don't want to sound flippant, but the oil industry deals with this type of political risk, of border disputes, of disputed territories all around the world, frankly Durrant said quoted by Reuters.
Likewise when the deal was announced a Foreign Office spokesperson gave its full support to the company and to the Falklands right to develop its own oil and gas industry.
“We have been unequivocal in our support for the people of the Falkland Islands as they seek to expand their economy. This [drilling] is a core principle of self-determination, and one which we are determined to uphold”, said the spokesperson.