LatinNews Daily - 18 May 2022

In brief: Argentine gov’t extends permits for offshore oil exploration

*Argentina’s energy ministry has announced a two-year extension for permits granted to Norway-headquartered oil firm Equinor, state oil company Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales (YPF) and Anglo-Dutch multinational Royal Dutch Shell to explore for hydrocarbons in an offshore block in the Atlantic. The extension was granted for the CAN 100 block, which covers 15,000 km2, and is 300km distant from Mar del Plata, Argentina’s largest seaside resort. Equinor is the operator of the block with a 35 % share, while YPF is an associate with a 35% share with Shell holding the remaining 30%. Exploration permits for the block were granted in 2019, but the oil companies requested an extension following delays due to restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in 2020. CAN 100 is one of three blocks operated by Equinor, YPF and Shell that have been the subject of recent controversy in Argentina, with environmental activists leading protests against the impact of the exploration blocks on the marine eco-system and coastal landscapes. In February, Argentina’s federal government led by President Alberto Fernández announced it would appeal a court ruling to suspend offshore gas and oil exploration in areas of the Atlantic.

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