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Despite having lost a war in the 1980s after trying to invade the Falkland Islands, and just this year suffering a unanimous vote by the islanders themselves to remain British, Argentina is still trying to force its claim on the islands, located around 300 miles of the Patagonian coast in the South Atlantic.
The latest effort by the Argies takes the form of a determined campaign to deter any British-based energy companies from exploring and producing oil or natural gas in the waters around the disputed islands.
Just a week before UK members of parliament are expected to make a visit to Buenos Aires, the Argentine Embassy in London has sent out the warning that serious legal action is being put together aimed at preventing any drillers, or their suppliers, from working in the region.
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The Guardian reports that already the embassy has sent out more than 200 letters to oil companies, City analyst, and the London Stock Exchange, explaining that companies working in or around the Falklands, such as Premier and Rockhopper, are doing so in an underhand and illegal way.
The Argentinian government has made it clear that any access to the shale gas deposits expected to exist both onshore and offshore, will be denied to any company attempting to drill there.
One source from the Argentinian embassy explained that “it is a political issue. If you find that shale in Argentina is good business then you would not get involved in exploiting offshore these [Malvinas] islands. You would automatically be banned.”
Premier Oil, which began operating the Sea Lion project at the end of last year, stated that it has made lots of progress during the first six months of the year towards producing the first barrels of oil from and offshore well in the Falklands. They plan to produce a total of 284 million barrels of oil from the north part of the field, before moving to the southern end for a further 110 million barrels.
Related article: Elections in Argentina May Quicken Investment Pace
Argentinian officials have stated their frustration by Britain’s refusal to discuss the future of the islands, but David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, has said that if the people living on the Falkland Islands have voted to remain British citizens, then he will back this 100%.
During the summer Argentina’s ambassador to London, Alicia Castro, said that Cameron’s attitude towards the dispute is “stupid.”
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com