BUENOS AIRES, March 31 Argentina's government
has made the decision to take control of leading energy company
YPF and is discussing whether to renationalize it or intervene
in its administration, a newspaper reported on Saturday.
YPF, which is controlled by Spain's Repsol
, is under intense pressure from the center-left
government to boost output to reduce surging fuel imports that
are eroding the country's trade surplus.
Pagina 12 newspaper, which is seen as reflecting government
thinking, said President Cristina Fernandez had made up her mind
on the need for state control and that internal debate was now
focused on how to go about it.
It gave the possible options as expropriation or state
intervention including the purchase of company shares.
To reduce the risk of legal challenges, any such move would
be preceded by the passing of a law declaring oil and natural
gas production as matters of public interest, the newspaper
"There's no going backward on this," it quoted unnamed
government sources as saying. "Repsol has an extractive model
for YPF that doesn't work for us. Company rationale doesn't
contemplate the reinvestment of profits and putting capital into
exploration and production based on what the country needs."
YPF's stock has been battered by weeks of speculation about
a possible renationalization and a series of sanctions by
national and provincial authorities, such as the withdrawal of
YPF officials have defended the company's investment record
and criticized provinces for revoking its concessions.
It says its investment in Argentina rose 50 percent in 2011,
with most of the cash channeled into upstream including
exploration projects like those that led to the huge Vaca Muerta
shale find, which could potentially double Argentina's energy