United States sided with Spain's Repsol position in the dispute over the seizure of a majority stake in YPF by the administration of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez last year, a dispute which remains unresolved over compensation for the assets.
Of course, the United States does not back the nationalization of assets, so definitively we support Repsol regarding this issue, said US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, when asked about the issue by Spain's government news agency.
The statement was made at a meeting with the media in the US embassy in Madrid.
However Secretary Moniz was careful in not getting involved in the 'specifics' regarding the agreement reached by US oil corporation Chevron and YPF to explore and exploit Argentina's massive Vaca Muerta shale gas and oil deposits in Patagonia and at the heart of the Spain/Argentina dispute.
Following the announcement of the agreement Repsol launched a legal offensive against Chevron, considering that the US company was taking advantage with full knowledge of events of the 'illicit seizure'.
In April 2012, the Argentine government seized 51% of YPF shares, all from Repsol, without yet having reached a compensation agreement.
Last December Repsol presented a request before the World Bank investment arbitrations centre (International centre for settlement of investment disputes) demanding compensation for the seizure of a majority stake in YPF and which the Spanish company described as an 'dispossession'.
The Obama administration has always rejected the way Argentine seized a majority control of YPF, and has supported Spain in its claims but it is the first time it is made public following the agreement of Chevron with YPF.
At the time, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that decisions taken by different countries are decisions they must justify themselves and must live with them.
However she added that the Argentine nationalization would be a very much debated measure and from the US point of view, an open energy and basic goods market is the best for competition and market access.
However State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said at the time that the decision from the government of Cristina Fernandez ”has the potential of adversely affecting the Argentine economy and worsen the investment climate in Argentina.