June 20, 2013
Vaca Muerta YPF-Repsol deal on the cards
The prospective agreement would imply that legal action taken by Repsol against Argentina and YPF (after the government’s expropriation of the Spanish firm’s majority share in YPF in April 2012) and against other energy firms who had reached cooperation deals with the Argentine oil company would be dropped.
Meetings between YPF and Repsol representatives was confirmed by the former to the Herald, but La Nación reported sources close to Repsol CEO Antonio Brufau stating he would never consider the notion of working with “the firm that confiscated us.”
Ámbito Financiero said negotiations have been led by high-ranking government officials, including Argentine Ambassador to Spain Carlos Bettini, whose steps were duly reported to President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
Despite Brufau’s refutations, YPF sources have revealed that the deal could be announced within weeks, and that they imposed as a condition that Brufau be excluded from involvement and also be left out of the prospective subsidiary due to alleged accounting irregularities, including poor administration, which were found in an audit of the Spanish company’s performance as majority shareholder of YPF.
According to the same sources, this is why Repsol is publicly denying negotiations have taken place and Brufau has declared dialogue with Argentina is not going well, as they have taken place behind the CEO’s back.
Apparently the monetary valuation of the acreage Argentina would provide to the new firm and the amount of money the latter will receive as capitalization will be determined by Repsol’s assessment of the losses it incurred as the result of last year’s expropriation, over which it has filed a complaint before international courts.
According to Ámbito Financiero, the degree of commitment by both parties in this alleged agreement is exemplified by the President having welcomed at Government House savings bank La Caixa CEO Isidro Fainé Casas, Repsol’s Vice-President and 12.53 percent majority shareholder, to reportedly refine the small print of the accord, with the latter not objecting to Brufau’s exclusion because of the overarching interest to participate in exploration and oil and gas extraction.
Neuquén and Mendoza provincial governments are also purported to be discreetly drawing up decrees to cede the land for such operations by the new firm, which is yet to be named.
The alleged deal would be consistent with the Strategic Plan announced by YPF CEO Miguel Galuccio, which also rectifies the contradiction with the President’s stern condemnation of the Spanish firm. The plan is based on the premise that it would be difficult to transform YPF into a profitable, productive, professional and competitive company that provides energy self-sufficiency for the country if the open wound of Spanish international suits were to remain open.
Following the reports of a deal, YPF stocks rose 3.7 percent on Wall Street and one percent on the Merval, suggesting confidence has also risen in investors.
Herald with Ambito.com, La Nación