Four London AIM listed oil companies carrying out exploration work in Falkland Islands waters have been barred from operating in Argentina. The measure affects Borders & Southern Petroleum, Desire Petroleum, Argos Resources and Falkland Oil and Gas.
All four are prohibited from working in Argentina for 20 years due to their unauthorized and clandestine exploration activity in areas near the Malvinas Islands the Argentine government said in a statement posted Friday on its Web site.
The decision which includes four resolutions (456/2013; 457/2013/ 458/2013 and 459/2013 from the Energy Secretary) states the four companies violated Argentine law governing oil exploration and production by carrying out activities in that offshore sector without the government's permission.
Argentine authorities said the oil firms were operating under an illegitimate license to explore for oil and gas in areas near the Malvinas that was granted by the illegitimate government that controls those Islands.
The oil companies were notified of their situation in March 2012, according to the Argentine government, based on the country’s Law 17.319 which regulates hydrocarbons exploration and exploitation.
Buenos Aires informed them at the time of its firm intention to take all legal and administrative action at its disposal to defend its rights and in May 2012, Argentina's Energy Secretariat declared the activities of these companies in waters near the Malvinas to be illegal and clandestine.
Consequently the Energy Secretariat has declared illegal and clandestine these activities undertaken by the British companies in ‘our continental shelf’, and in accordance with Law 26.659 which habilitates sanctions from 5 to 20 years of prohibition to operate in Argentina when undertaking such activities without the corresponding authorization. All of which notwithstanding of criminal sanctions that might result, concludes the release in the government’s web site.
Argentina claims sovereignty over the Falklands/Malvinas and other South Atlantic islands, and based on a 1965 United Nations resolution demands negotiations with London to discuss and resolve the dispute through dialogue. However London has refused to discuss the sovereignty issue since the Islanders, according to the UN chart have the right to self determination and to decide on their future.
Last March a referendum on the issue was held in the Falklands and 98% of Islanders (with a 92% turnout) said they wanted to remain a British Overseas Territory.
The government of President Cristina Fernandez has become particularly aggressive and continues to try and blockade Falklands’ trade and communications with greater intensity since 2010, when the current round of oil and gas exploration started off-shore the Islands.