Argentina Drafts Energy Bill To Lure Investors To Shale Deposits

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Argentina's federal government reaches a preliminary agreement with provinces to reform energy regulations and improve incentives to lure foreign investors.


BUENOS AIRES, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Argentina's federal government said on Wednesday it had reached a preliminary agreement with provinces on reforms to overhaul energy regulations and improve incentives to lure the foreign investors needed to develop its vast shale oil and gas reserves.

The cash-strapped South American country needs investment in its southern Patagonian Vaca Muerta fields to reverse a costly energy deficit that is pressuring low foreign reserves.

Under the country's 1967 energy law, local administrations issue licenses and determine concessions and taxes foreign companies pay. The central government seeks a national framework that creates the same terms for all regions, which it says would ease doing business.

"With clear, long-term rules creating transparent conditions, we obviously will get... investors enabling us to accelerate the process of becoming self-sufficient in terms of energy," Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich told a news briefing.

One senior energy official from an oil-producing province said the months-long negotiations, including haggling over royalties from the world's second-biggest shale gas reserves, had resulted in a "good draft."

The federal government wants the new law in place before 2015 when a number of concessions held by state-controlled YPF expire, said the official who was involved in the talks but not authorized to talk to media.


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