Spain lashes out in fight with Argentina over YPF

20 April 2012 22:38  [Source: ICIS news]

MEDELLIN, Colombia (ICIS) --Spain retaliated against Argentina on Friday with a measure to possibly curtail Argentine biodiesel imports.

Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said on Friday that the ministry of industry would approve a plan to limit Argentine biodiesel imports later today.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner sent a bill to the Senate early this week, under which the government would obtain a 51% stake in YPF, effectively expropriating the company amid escalating tensions and accusations of continued decline in oil and gas production in the country.

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

Three Argentine Senate committees approved a bill on Wednesday allowing the state to take over YPF from Repsol YPF. The Spanish-based energy producer owns a majority stake in the company.

Spain has threatened consequences for Argentina in response to the expropriation of YPF from Madrid-listed Repsol.

Most of biodiesel used in Spain is imported ,with much of the fuel coming from Argentina.

There was sentiment in the Argentine biodiesel sector that the Spanish market would likely be lost and sellers have started to consider alternate sales destinations.

Argentine biodiesel production for 2012 is projected at a record 3bn litres (792m gal), with Argentina becoming one of the world’s top producers, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Leela Landress
+1 713 525 2653

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