Argentina says to keep buying LNG from Spain's GNF despite court ruling

BUENOS AIRES Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:13pm EDT

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BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina's state-run energy company YPF will continue to buy liquid natural gas (LNG) from Spain's Gas Natural Fenosa (GNF)(GAS.MC) despite a ruling against the purchases by an Argentine federal judge, YPF chief Miguel Galuccio said on Tuesday.

The ruling earlier this month threatened to complicate the energy-deficient nation's ability to keep its power plants running. But Galuccio said YPF plans to continue the purchases.

"We are going to keep going," he said. "If the justice system says no, we'll stop."

The Argentine company has appealed the ruling and denies allegations of a conflict of interest.

The Argentine Consumers' Union filed a lawsuit saying another Spanish firm, Repsol (REP.MC) owns a 30 percent share in GNF while also holding a stake in YPF, which brokers the fuel purchases on behalf of fellow state-run energy company Enarsa.

Repsol holds an 11.82 percent stake in YPF following Argentina's nationalization of Repsol's controlling assets in the state-owned firm last year. Fuel imports have been growing in Argentina due to a persistent fall in local production and an increase in demand, especially for gas.

Argentina's fuel imports rose 31.9 percent in August 2013 from the same month last year. Led by liquid natural gas purchases, imports totaled $942 million, according to data from Argentina's energy secretary.

(Reporting by Karina Grazina; Editing by Supriya Kurane)

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