Madrid, Feb 26 (IANS/EFE) Spain’s Repsol YPF is planning to begin exploring for oil in Argentine waters near the Falkland Islands late this year, CEO Antonio Brufau said.
The Falklands, known to Latin Americans as the Malvinas, were the object of a brief war between Argentina and Britain in 1982.
‘We’re now in the phase of contracting the oil rig,’ Brufau said, adding that the consortium will go ahead with its plans even though exploration in that area is not easy and the probability of success is very ‘low or limited’.
Drilling will take place in deep waters of Argentina’s continental shelf, closer to the Argentine mainland than the islands and in the South American country’s territorial waters, Antonio Gomis, Repsol Argentina’s general director, told EFE-DowJones.
Repsol’s Argentine unit, YPF, is the lead operator of this exploratory project, in which Brazil’s Petrobras and Pan American Energy also have stakes.
Repsol YPF’s announcement comes amid a renewed dispute between Buenos Aires and London over the islands, with tensions heightening after the British rig Ocean Guardian began exploring for oil in the South Atlantic archipelago despite opposition from Argentina’s government.
The government in Buenos Aires has continued to claim sovereignty over the islands in spite of Argentina’s defeat in the 1982 war.
Argentina moved last week to implement its strategy to prevent British oil exploration in the Falklands, announcing controls on maritime traffic with the islands.
Britain said the measure would have little effect since the waters around the islands were under the control of Falklands authorities.
The Falkland Islands may hold up to 60 billion barrels of crude oil, the British press reported recently.