* Energy-hungry Argentina eager to lure investment
* Pan American Energy seen getting biggest benefit
BUENOS AIRES Jan 7 Argentina unveiled a new
system of export taxes on oil shipments on Monday that will cut
levies as the government seeks to lure investment to revive
The change means energy companies will receive $70 per
barrel of exported oil, up from $42 previously. Argentina
controls the price of oil exports in order to guarantee domestic
Until now the state kept the difference between the
international price for Argentine crude -- currently between $80
and $90 per barrel -- and the reference price of $42.
The reform means that the state will only retain the
difference between the market prices and $70, meaning increased
revenue for oil companies that export crude.
Energy analysts said the measure, which was published in the
government's Official Gazette, will have the most benefit for
Argentina's Pan American Energy (PAE).
PAE, in which Britain's BP holds a 60 percent stake,
is the South American country's biggest oil exporter, shipping
2.3 million cubic meters of crude between January and November
2012. Argentina only exports about 10 percent of its crude.
France's Total and China's Sinopec will
also benefit from the government's export tax overhaul.
Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez nationalized the
country's largest energy company, YPF, last year and
has made boosting production a top priority in a bid to stem
Analysts said Monday's announcement was part of a series of
measures aimed at luring investment, especially in the country's
vast shale resources.
A U.S. Department of Energy report shows Argentina holds
more natural gas trapped in shale rock than in all of Europe - a
774-trillion-cubic-feet bounty that could transform the outlook
for Western Hemisphere supply.
"In order to get the industry moving, you have to have
decent prices," said independent analyst Victor Bronstein. "This
gives a stimulus to investment and allows the oil industry to
In November, the government said wellhead natural gas prices
would rise to $7.50 per million British Thermal Units (BTU) from
about $5 per million BTU previously.
Argentina's average daily oil output fell 4.3 percent in
October from the same month a year earlier, according to the
latest report by the private Argentine Institute of Oil and Gas
(IAPG). Natural gas production fell 5.3 percent.