Argentina's government said on Thursday that it had agreed with France's Total to work together to boost natural gas output by 2 million cubic metres per day at two Patagonian fields where YPF – which is being nationalized – also has a stake.
YPF, placed under interim state control this week, named the two fields as Aguada Pichana and Aguada San Roque, which are operated jointly by the company, Total and Pan American Energy, with Total taking the lead.
The fields account for about 20% of Argentina's total natural gas output, a government statement said. France’s Total is Europe’s third- largest oil producer.
Argentina’s Planning Ministry said that a meeting was held in Buenos Aires between government officials and Ladislas Paszkiewicz, Total’s senior vice president of the Americas.
When President Cristina Fernandez announced the nationalization of YPF, mainly for failing to increase production and investment, Paszkiewicz who was in Rio de Janeiro pointed out that Total has increased significantly gas production in Argentina in recent years, and last year replaced YPF as the main supplier of that fuel in the country.
Earlier in the week Planning Minister Julio De Vido anticipated that “many multinational companies” had already shown interest in engaging in talks with the Argentine government to discuss a potential investment in the development of YPF, as well as areas of joint exploitation.
“Many multinational corporations, which the bill encourages to join us, in just a few hours have already shown interests in coming to talk to us in order to contribute to the value of these resources that we know exits,” he stated during a senatorial committees plenary meeting to discuss the bill that looks to expropriate YPF.
De Vido said that “those who assure that international companies will avoid becoming partners with YPF, are wrong. The world needs oil otherwise the price of the oil barrel wouldn’t be reaching 105 dollars the barrel”.
He underlined that “YPF maxim from now on will be gas, oil and employment” adding that “we need oil self-sufficiency to be considered a matter of public interest”.