BUENOS AIRES Oct 16 An Argentine court has
blocked the country's top liquid natural gas supplier, Spain's
Gas Natural Fenosa, from participating in a $4.5
billion tender for the fuel, a local newspaper reported on
The ruling could complicate the energy-deficient nation's
ability to keep its power plants running.
Until a court rules on whether GNF has potential conflicts
of interests, the company will be unable to participate in
tenders to provide 100 shipments of liquid natural gas for 2014
and 2015 that the Argentine state-run oil firm YPF has
launched, the newspaper Clarin said.
The Argentine Consumers' Union, a local non-governmental
organization, has filed a lawsuit noting another Spanish firm,
Repsol 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.
The Argentine Consumers' Union was not immediately available
for comment and a spokesman for YPF declined to comment.
Repsol holds an 11.82 percent stake in YPF following
Argentina's nationalization of Respol'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.
GNF was responsible for about 70 percent of the country's
imports of the fuel this year and last, the paper said.