BUENOS AIRES - Argentina's state-run oil and gas company YPF SA will ask shareholders next month to approve a plan to issue up to $2 billion in new debt.
The plan to sell new bonds comes as YPF seeks ways to finance a $35 billion oil and gas exploration program.
The $2 billion would be in addition to already-existing shareholder authorization to sell up to $1 billion in bonds, according to a YPF statement posted Wednesday on the website of the local securities commission, or CNV.
Shareholders will meet Sept. 13 to vote on the plan.
On Monday, YPF said it will sell up to 3.5 billion pesos ($760 million) in bonds. The decision is part of a four-year-old program to issue up to $1 billion in debt, but it comes amid a renewed push to find funding for new investment in exploration and production.
Argentina's government, which earlier this year took over YPF by expropriating a 51% stake from the majority shareholder, Spain's Repsol SA, has made raising oil and gas production a top national priority.
The government, which has not paid Repsol anything for the stake, is pushing to reduce demand for imported energy, which last year cost it $9.4 billion and is set to strain public finances even more this year.
YPF Chief Executive Miguel Galuccio recently outlined plans to invest about $7 billion a year between 2013 and 2017 to increase production. He said YPF would fund the plan largely with its own cash flow and seek partners and investors to share development costs.
Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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