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No Empty Threats From Argentina In Falkland Oil Dispute

Argentina wasn’t joking when it said it would sue to prevent foreign energy companies for drilling off the Falkland Islands.

On April 2 – the 33rd anniversary of the start of Argentina’s 10-week Falklands War with Britain – two British energy companies announced they’d found oil and gas off the South Atlantic islands off Argentina. Almost as expected, the Foreign Ministry in Buenos Aires immediately threatened a lawsuit.

The discovery at the Zebedee well, situated about 200 miles north of the Falklands, was announced April 2 by Britain’s Premier Oil Plc. and Falkland Oil and Gas Ltd. It was the first energy strike in an exploratory campaign in the region that began last summer. The find includes an oil reservoir 81 feet deep and a gas basin 55 feet deep.

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Now it appears Argentina intends to keep these companies, and three others, away from the newly discovered energy cache. In London on April 17, Daniel Filmus, Argentina’s minister for the Falklands – known as Las Malvinas to the Argentines – announced his country has initiated a lawsuit to be heard by a judge in Rio Grande, Argentina.

Besides Premier and Falkland Oil and Gas, the defendants include one additional British company, Rockhopper Exploration Plc., as well as the US companies Noble Energy and Edison International.

At a news conference at the residence of Argentina’s ambassador to the UK, Filmus said his country would prosecute the companies on the basis of unspecified Argentine and international laws. Those found guilty of exploring for oil in what he said were Argentine waters would face between five and 10 years in prison; those convicted of illegal energy extraction would face even longer sentences.

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The Falklands have long been a source of tension between Argentina and Britain, which both claim ownership of the islands. They have been under British control since 1841, but on April 2, 1982, Argentine forces invaded them in an effort to establish sovereignty under Buenos Aires.

Britain responded with a naval task force, and on June 14 Argentina surrendered, returning the islands to British control. The two countries eventually restored full diplomatic relations in 1989, but the ownership of the Falklands remains in dispute.

The British companies’ discovery of oil and gas near the islands has only made matters worse. Ambassadors from each country were summoned by their counterpart to explain their country’s behavior, and British forces in the region held a military drill on April 13.

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Britain went beyond mere symbolic actions. On April 2, the day the discovery was announced, Defense Secretary Michael Fallon announced a strengthening of defenses in the Falklands, including the addition of two Chinook Helicopters and upgraded surface-to-air batteries.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner condemned this response and vowed to regain control of the islands. “International law and dialogue, not militarization, are the path to a reunion and sovereignty,” she said at the time. “We will see the islands form part of our territory again. It’s not just wishful thinking.”

Even if she gets her wish, though, she may gain a territory with a reluctant population. In 2013, residents of the Falklands voted 1,513 to 3 to remain under British control.

By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com

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  • Lol on April 23 2015 said:
    He asked how the world will judge us in 50 years. I said, and you just proved, the way the world has judged us since 1066, key word, SINCE, meaning everything I between now and then lol.....as for the marbles. Which relevance to this topic is still a mystery to me, they were brought over by a man who lost his nose to syphilis, stolen from their natural country, I don't deny this, I don't have anyone in my social circle who Denys this, so do tell me what makes you bring up those marbles? It couldn't be your judgmental attitude to Britain now could it? Because that really would be proving my point about the whole judgmental aspect of my initial comment lol
  • Humsim Pirelli on April 23 2015 said:
    Lol (not meant as a pun) - About as baseless as the British Museum saying the Elgin marbles belong to them you mean? The world has kind of moved on a bit since 1066...
  • Deanstreet on April 23 2015 said:
    The funny thing about argentina and it's b*****it about owning my home and my country is very clear..
    The argentines will not talk to me, nor my democratically elected government.. The Falkland Islands Government..

    Also, the argentines have been a full member of the permanent Court of arbitration since 1907.
    The court being formed in 1899.
    One has to ask - why have the clowns not used this institution.?
    Additionally, there is also the International Court of Justice.. been in existence since 1947, of which the argentines are also a member of..

    But then you see, if the argentines went to the international court/s, their "claim" would have to be investigated.. And completely and thoroughly..

    Can anyone see the argentines doing this..

    I can't.

    Kindest regards from the very best little country in the world..

    The Falkland Islands..
  • St.George on April 23 2015 said:
    it may be 200 miles from the Falklands but it 400 from Argentina!
  • Lol on April 22 2015 said:
    The same way history has judged us since 1066 lol, we don't care, the fact remains, the argies invaded a peaceful place by force, since that day, any peaceful resolution is off the table, we offered to share resources in 2007, mr Nestor tore up the proposals, and so? 200 miles is still closer to the falklands than 350 miles away from any other South American country lol, exactly how far out does a countries territory extend now? 200 miles is in international waters, so the fact that the islands are 300 miles and more from any South American country Is vastly different from them being inside a countries territory lol, and unless you know the full history of the islands from their first discovery. Through to the conflicts between Spain France and Britain, through to the two world wars where we fought against Germans whilst Argentina was still finding it's way in the world twiddling her thumbs, to today, your opinion on them belonging to South America let alone Argentina, is baseless lol
  • Tchuan Zee on April 22 2015 said:
    LOL - So there are 3000 British passport holders on the rocks, lots of soldiers, but why try and grab South America's natural resources because of this?

    The Zebadee oil well is 200 miles north of the Falklands/Malvinas. Does the oil belongs to the UK or the Falklanders simply due to having more military forces and having won a war? Would that be the same philosophy as Dick Chemney's oil company profiting in Iraq then?

    How do you think history might judge this, or the BRIC countries in 50 years time?
  • Lol on April 22 2015 said:
    More than a few settlers. And like I said, you think after being part of the uk for over 200 years. That we would just meekly give up those islands? After we lost soldiers in a war started by Argentina? Not a chance. Anyone wants them, you can either fight us for them, or stop crying
  • Mark Ramsey on April 22 2015 said:
    Well there isn't a chance in hell South America's natural resources belong to the UK due to having a few settlers on some rocks 200 miles away. These companies are London stock exchange listed, meaning UK intends to profit from them.

    Indigenous tribes are mixed with European Argentinians. Have they been asked who the natural resources off their coast belong to? Do you think they would agree to the environment being potentially damaged to profit a far away land?
  • Falklander on April 21 2015 said:
    Argentina tried to take them by force, and lost a war in less than two months LOL, no one ever listens to the UN.....if Argie wants the falklands. Come and get them, your country has never fought a war further away than those islands. We fought all over the world. You'll loose like last time. Now stop crying
  • soy oil on April 21 2015 said:
    Google is not the UN, UN say Malvinas is a territory under dispute. No one have right until the dispute have a resolution between both side Argentina and UK.
  • Stephen Potts on April 21 2015 said:
    Argentina has a sovereignty claim without a case and that can only mean that their Falklands' claim is illegitimate. Google: 'Argentina's Illegitimate Sovereignty Claims' to discover why.

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