Britain's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has accused Argentina of bullying after it announced on Friday in London that it was starting legal action against companies drilling for oil and gas near the Falkland Islands.
Three British firms, Premier Oil, Rockhopper Exploration and Falkland Oil & Gas, are reported to be among the five firms targeted by the action. The other two are from the US, Noble Energy and Edison International.
Daniel Filmus, Buenos Aires’ minister for Malvinas Affairs, threatened legal moves over the drilling earlier this month and is reported to have confirmed that Argentine judicial authorities will take on the case.
Hammond told Sky News: “It is an outrageous piece of bullying and threatening against the Falkland Islanders’ perfect right to develop their own economic resources and Argentina needs to stop this kind of behavior and start acting like a responsible member of the International community.”
Argentina has commenced legal action against the five companies currently drilling for oil and gas in the Falkland Islands. The move was announced by the Argentine minister for the Falklands after a judge in Rio Grande agreed to take on the case.
Drilling for oil and gas in the resource-rich Falklands area by London-listed companies remains controversial as a decades-long row between the UK and Argentina over the sovereignty of the Islands has not been resolved.
Daniel Filmus told a press conference in London, Argentina would use national and international law in a bid to settle the issue.
Earlier this month the Foreign Office dismissed a previous threat to prosecute oil firms drilling near the Falklands. It was made after Premier Oil said it had made an oil discovery at the Zebedee well in the region north of the Falklands.