Chevron exec: no YPF deal progress until asset freeze lifted- FT

March 13 Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:42pm EDT

March 13 (Reuters) - Chevron Corp will not proceed further in a shale oil venture with Argentina's YPF until a court freeze on the U.S. oil major's Argentinian assets has been lifted, a top Chevron executive said in an interview with the Financial Times.

YPF, Argentina's state-controlled energy firm, and Chevron in December agreed to a preliminary deal of about $1 billion to develop Argentina's vast shale oil resources.

That came one month after an Argentinian judge ordered a freeze up to $19 billion worth of assets held by Chevron in Argentina as part of an environmental lawsuit by Ecuadorean villagers. Chevron has accused the Ecuadorean courts of fraud.

An appeals court later upheld the freeze in January.

Chevron cannot move forward on the deal as long as the freeze is in effect, as a lock-up could be ordered on money the oil major brought in to spend, the company's Vice President George Kirkland told the Financial Times.

Kirkland's comments come days after YPF Chief Executive Miguel Galuccio said negotiations with Chevron were moving slowly due to the court freeze.