Argentine deputy minister will not decide YPF value – Repsol CEO

18 April 2012 19:28  [Source: ICIS news]

MEDELLIN, Colombia (ICIS)--Repsol YPF president Antonio Brufau said on Wednesday that Argentine deputy economy minister Axel Kicillof will not decide the price that Argentina should pay for YPF.

“Argentina should pay a fair price for YPF, with a valorisation not made by Kicillof, as he does not know much about company valorisations,” Brufau said during the inauguration of a Repsol refinery in Spain.

Brufau was responding to comments made on Tuesday by Kicillof during an Argentine Senate hearing.

Kicillof was named by Fernandez to help lead YPF.

Argentina will rely on “solid data” to value its takeover of 51% of YPF’s shares, and it will not use estimates from Repsol, Kicillof said on Tuesday during a senate hearing.

“The numbers that some executives talked recklessly about in valuing the company will be revised as we review the fine print and the secret information managed by the company,” Kicillof said.

Earlier, Repsol had valued its YPF stake at $10.5bn (€8bn), based on a formula that assumes a share price of $46.55.

Brufau said Repsol would await a response from the Argentine government adding that, the company would resort to the courts, promising that “the road is long and we’ll see each other on it”.

“Governments come and go, but responsibilities remain,” Brufau said. “It will take time, but the years pass quickly, circumstances change, but responsibilities will remain.”

Repsol YPF, the majority owner in YPF, said on 16 April it plans file legal action against Argentina after the seizure of the company’s oil and gas production in Argentina.

“Repsol considers the announced measure to be manifestly unlawful and gravely discriminatory, that its public interest has in no way been justified and clearly contravenes the obligations undertaken by the republic of Argentina during the privatisation of YPF, breaching the most basic principles of legal certainty and of reliance by the international investment community,” the Spanish company said in a statement.

Argentina was taking over management of YPF with immediate effect, Fernandez said. The government will also send a bill to Congress to take a 51% stake in YPF.

The takeover follows more than two months of government pressure on YPF, a unit of Spain’s Repsol YPF, to boost investment and output.

The stake in YPF would give the Argentine government access to its shale oil reserves and natural gas production.

Argentina has an estimated 774,000bn cubic feet (bcf) of technically recoverable reserves of shale gas, the third-largest behind China and the US, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

YPF said in February that the Vaca Muerta formation in southern Argentina holds at least 23bn bbl of oil, of which at least 13bn bbl belong to YPF, the company said.

The Argentine administration sought to block YPF dividend payments and backed provincial governments’ decisions to revoke 15 oil field licences since 13 March.

Additional reporting by Al Greenwood

($1 = €0.76)

By: Leela Landress
+1 713 525 2653

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