Argentina's Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Energy Wednesday announced sanctions were to be imposed on three companies for operating illegally in the South Atlantic.
According to the Argentine authorities, the companies were dedicated to the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons on the Argentine Continental Shelf, in the northern Falklands basin.
Two of the companies are British and the other Israeli, authorities said during a joint press conference by the Malvinas, Antarctica and South Atlantic Secretary Daniel Filmus, and his Energy colleague Darío Martínez.
The British-based Chrysaor Holdings Limited and Harbor Energy Plc. companies and the Israeli Navitas Petroleum LP were being served notices for breaching Argentine hydrocarbon laws, passed in 2011 and 2013, which require companies operating on the continental shelf to have express authorization from the Argentine government.
Sanctions range from a disqualification of between 5 and 20 years to work in Argentina, in addition to fines which can entail preventive embargoes.
The companies now have 20 business days to exercise their defence.
“The companies are not authorized to operate nor have they requested authorization and that is why we started this process, which has to do with notification and sanctions. The Ministry of Energy provided the technical knowledge and records and then the Foreign Ministry will continue with the claims,” Martínez explained.
Filmus also highlighted that these companies were served discouragement notes last year but they carried on nevertheless. He also pointed out that Argentina's actions in this regard have been backed by multilateral organizations such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac), Mercosur and the Ibero-American Summit.
The Argentine Secretary also said that these organizations issued resolutions for there to be a bilateral negotiation in the dispute with the United Kingdom, but also invoked resolution 31/49 of the United Nations “which establishes that none of the two parties can have a unilateral action”.
Filmus added that these three companies will be added to the other eight oil companies that were sanctioned for the same issue between 2011 and 2015.