The Argentine energy complex and related industries requested from the government urgent measures to re-establish legal security and investors' trust.
In the framework of the International Energy Forum taking place in Buenos Aires the Argentine energy industry made it a point to underline the two main obstacles faced by the sector: the freeze imposed upon energy rates and obstacles to a regional integration process.
Repsol-YPF CEO Jose Maria Ranero Diaz claimed it was essential to rebuild corporate trust with clear game rules and legal security, "which are demanded by those investments directed to supply the growing demand for energy". In direct reference to gas and electricity rates that remain frozen since 2001 Mr. Ranero Diaz said "this is an issue that needs to be solved for the good of the whole country".
"Under current conditions, attracting investors for oil projects in Argentina is not an easy task. Each initiative must win the trust of investors based on sound geological surveys, costs, distance from consumer markets and the existence of an adequate permanent regulatory framework that enables the development of a project".
Simultaneously with the Energy Forum this week opened the Argentina Oil & Gas 2003 Show with over 200 stands and representatives from companies linked to the energy industry. Several conferences and debates on energy policy and regional integration are scheduled during the week.
One of the interesting remarks came from a former Argentine Deputy Economy Minister Alberto Devoto who argued that the current Argentine administration "did not have to leave aside the existing legal frameworks for gas and electricity".
"Current regulations entitle the government to renegotiate contracts and adapt public utility concessions to the current economic emergency and new market conditions without having to send them to the Renegotiation Committee recently approved by Congress", and which now has the task of reviewing over 60 privatization contracts.