Argentina Says Russian Driller ERIELL Plans Local Operations


BUENOS AIRES, May 18 (Reuters) - The Argentine government said on Monday that ERIELL, an oilfield service group majority owned by Russia's Gazprombank, had declared its intention to establish drilling operations in the South American country this year.

Argentina sits atop some of the world's biggest shale oil and gas resources but years of under-investment in the energy sector have made the country a net energy importer.

A statement released by the Argentine industry ministry said ERIELL's vice president Zemfira Djemilava met Industry Minister Debora Giorgi in Buenos Aires and would later hold discussions with YPF, Pan American Energy and Pluspetrol.

Representatives of ERIELL were not immediately available for comment.

President Cristina Fernandez's heavy-handed trade and currency controls have scared companies out of making anything but foothold investments in what is viewed as one of the biggest shale reserves in the Western Hemisphere.

(Reporting by Eliana Raszewski; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by David Gregorio)


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