Argentina complains involvement of Texas company in Falklands’ oil activities
President Cristina Fernandez government expressed its deep disappointment directly to the State Department following the announcement that the Texan oil company Noble Energy would become involved in hydrocarbons activities in the Falkland Islands.
A report from La Nacion, singed by Martin Dinatale, quoting Argentine Foreign ministry and diplomatic sources, says that the complaint was delivered personally by Ambassador Jorge Argüello in Washington to the State Department ignoring the US embassy in Buenos Aires.
The complaint arrived at Foggy Bottom not long after Noble Energy and the Falkland Oil and Gas Ltd announced on Monday they had reached a farm in deal to explore for oil to the east and south of the Falklands involving 35% of the licences held by FOGL with investments of 180 to 230 million dollars in the next three years.
In the letter according to La Nacion sources, Argentine diplomacy anticipates it will begin legal actions against all those companies involved in hydrocarbons activities in the Falklands/Malvinas since it is “a disputed territory”. Like wise the communication will be delivered to the New York stock exchange, to the US Treasury, to the US Securities and Exchange Commission and to the International Organization of Securities Commissions.
Noble Energy thus joins the list of companies the Argentine government considers “illegitimate and clandestine” since it will be operating in a territory ‘occupied’ by the UK and over which Argentina claims sovereignty. The intimation to the US company is in the framework of the Argentine Energy Secretary June 4 resolution in which it calls on all oil companies operating in the Malvinas Islands to cease activities and anticipates filing civil and criminal charges.
Two weeks ago the government of President Cristina Fernandez did something similar but with the ambassadors of Italy and France in Buenos Aires , whom were informed that Argentina would sanction and begin legal actions against the Edison oil corporation that reached a deal with FOGL. Under the terms of the agreement Edison which is a subsidiary of France’s EDF, will invest 90 million dollars to face exploration costs in exchange for a percentage of the oil production.
According to La Nacion sources from Hector Timerman’s ministry, the meetings with the embassies of Italy and France evolved in “good terms” and were only limited to make the official communication regarding sanctions and legal actions. “So far there have been no replies from the governments involved”.
In repeated occasions the Foreign Office has said that the British Government will offer support to companies involved in Falklands’ oil exploration who have been threatened with legal action by the Argentine Government.
Foreign Office minister Jeremy Browne said earlier this year before Parliament that the UK fully supports Falkland Islanders’ right to develop a hydrocarbons industry and underlined that Argentine authorities do not have jurisdiction over the Falkland Islands.
“The British Government will continue to offer support to all companies working in the Falkland Islands, including by reassuring those in the hydrocarbons sector in receipt of threatening correspondence from the Argentine Government”.
As to the official position of the Obama administration in the Falklands dispute, the State Department has said that the US maintains a “neutral position”. This means “the US recognises the de facto administration of the UK in the Islands, but does not have a position over the sovereignty pretensions of both countries”.
Likewise “the US government supports the cooperation of the UK and Argentina in practical issues and calls for a pacific resolution of this issue”.
The emphasis on the “neutral position” was ratified following a much celebrated three day visit of British PM David Cameron last May to the US where he met on several occasions with President Obama.