May 24, 2013
Chubut strains under Cerro Dragón pressure
Federal Planning Minister Julio De Vido met yesterday with Chubut Governor Martín Buzzi to hold crisis talks on the situation at the Cerro Dragón oilfield in that province. The oilfield, operated by the energy firm Pan American Energy, was seized by a group of construction workers known as the “dragones” demanding better pay a week ago.
During the meeting, which lasted for 45 minutes, De Vido and Buzzi analyzed the “conflict situation” ongoing in the Chubut field, which accounts for 15 percent of Argentina’s total national hydrocarbon production.
According to sources, Buzzi discussed “the motivations behind the situation”, stating that “it does not have the logic of a union conflict.”
The governor described the plant occupation as “a bizarrely wild act”, and said that both the workers and Pan American Energy “demonstrate an incomprehensible intolerance” in terms of negotiating an exit from the crisis.
The Planning Ministry released a statement yesterday that detailed that both officials had also discussed “the new panorama of hydrocarbon production and self-supply of energy achieved through the recovery of YPF,” the energy firm expropriated by the national government from Spanish company Repsol in April.
“The final part of the meeting covered the mining sector, especially the potential for mining in the province,” added the statement.
Later, the Chubut government announced that the Cerro Dragón field remained paralyzed. Although the occupation was lifted on Sunday, the field has yet to return to full production because access roads to the site have been blocked, preventing construction teams from repairing damages sustained by the installations.
Provincial Economy Minister Gabriela Dufour said yesterday that “due to the Cerro Dragón paralysis, Chubut has already lost 29 million pesos, due to the 4.2 million pesos brought in by oil production on a daily basis.”
The mayor of Comodoro Rivadavia, Néstor Di Pierro, yesterday blamed persons linked to former governor Mario Das Neves for the damages sustained by the Cerro Dragón field.
“Part of the group that occupied Cerro Dragón worked on (former governor Mario Das Neves’) electoral campaign, and his sector paid the rent for where they were located and sent them products,” said Di Pierro, adding that “these people were promised a lot” which was later not delivered.
The mayor also criticized Comodoro Rivadavia judge Eva Parcio, who removed herself from the case on Wednesday.
“There was clearly an ideology here, and it is up to everybody and to the authorities to investigate it, because nowadays, in cases of conflict, it is easy to declare oneself incompetent and just go home,” said Di Pierro.
The mayor stated that other hands had been involved in the issue: “none of the people inside the occupation is capable of leading the destruction that took place or hitting the areas that were hit...people from outside were the masterminds of these incidents.”
Herald with DyN, Telam