MADRID – The president of Spanish oil major Repsol, Antonio Brufau, said he expects that the company can reach an accord with Buenos Aires that will compensate it adequately for the expropriation of a 51 percent stake in Argentine oil firm YPF from Repsol, although he considers that task to be “difficult.”
In an interview with Spanish daily El Pais, Brufau said that “every country has the right to nationalize what it thinks important,” but this implies “an evaluation” and “not a decision by the nationalizing party.”
Brufau said that “we’re going to use all legal avenues. We’ll go to the ICSID – the World Bank arbitration court – when we see it as most advisable.”
When asked to pinpoint the moment where the firm’s relationship with Argentina was broken, Brufau said he felt it was last year when the discovery of huge unconventional crude oil and natural gas reserves in the Vaca Muerta field became known.
“Something so positive proved to be the detonator of the expropriation. Here is the origin of the problem, in my opinion,” Brufau said.
Buenos Aires announced on April 16, 2012 – and the Argentine Congress approved the move in May – the seizure of a 51 percent stake in YPF from Repsol, whose interest in its former unit has been reduced to 12 percent.
Brufau acknowledged that “we’re in more than 30 countries and we’ve seen many nationalization or renegotiation processes in Venezuela, in Ecuador, in Bolivia, in Libya....”
“In all those cases, we’ve sat down at a table to negotiate and we’ve always come to satisfactory agreements,” he said.