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LatinNews Daily - 08 July 2021

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In brief: Argentina moves to sanction oil firms operating in the Falklands/Malvinas

* Argentina’s government has announced the start of a process to sanction three foreign firms that have been prospecting for hydrocarbons in waters surrounding the Falkland/Malvinas islands in the South Atlantic without its authorisation. Under Argentine law exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons in Argentina’s continental shelf – which Argentina says includes the area surrounding the Falkland/Malvinas, the possession of which is disputed between Argentina and the United Kingdom (UK) – can only be conducted with the express authorisation of the Argentine government. In a press conference Argentina’s Energy Secretary Darío Martínez and Malvinas, Antarctica, and South Atlantic Secretary Daniel Filmus said that the government has corroborated that two UK-based firms, Chrysaor Holding Limited and Harbour Energy Plc, as well the Israel-based Navitas Petroleum LP have been carrying out hydrocarbon exploration activity in the Malvinas Norte basin offshore area without permission from Argentina. Consequently, the Argentine government has started the sanction process by formally notifying the firms that they are breaking Argentine law and that they could be banned from operating in Argentina for up to 20 years if they do not stop their activities. The three firms are operating under licenses issued by the UK-backed Falkland Islands government. Argentina’s actions are likely to produce friction with the UK and even Israel.