Repsol ‘in legal moves’ against Argentina

Taking action: Repsol chairman Antonio Brufau

10 May 2012 13:33 GMT

Lawyers ‘studying legality’ of move to renationalise YPF

Spanish oil company Repsol is reported to have set the wheels in motion for legal action against Argentina over the expropriation of a 51% stake in YPF.

Lawyers for the company are currently studying the legality of the controversial move by the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to renationalise YPF, according to Reuters.

“Our legal council is working on a definition of the legal path to follow and has already started some actions,” Repsol chief financial officer Miguel Martinez said during a conference call on its first-quarter results.

The company has earlier said it is prepared to take the case to international arbitration courts, as well as national ones, with chairman Antonio Brufau saying recently: “We will fight this with everything we have.”

Meanwhile, Repsol said it would now focus its strategy on upstream organic growth following the loss of the Argentinian unit, for which it is seeking compensation, with plans to drill an additional 20 exploration wells this year.

However, the finance boss said the company would not make any major asset sales this year to raise cash for fresh investments in exploration and production.

There has been speculation that Repsol could try to sell its 30% stake in Gas Natural and use the proceeds to invest in its upstream business after losing its majority stake in YPF.