BUENOS AIRES, May 27 Argentina's
state-controlled energy company, YPF, has lost a potential
multimillion-dollar international arbitration case over the
suspension of natural gas exports to Brazil, the company said on
Plaintiffs are reported to be seeking well over $1 billion
in compensation for YPF's suspension of gas exports starting in
2004 and its rescission of the contracts with AES Uruguaiana
(AESU) y Transportadora de Gas del Mercosur in 2009.
At the time, YPF was controlled by Spain's Repsol.
The center-left government of President Cristina Fernandez
seized Repsol's majority stake in the country's biggest energy
producer last year.
"This ruling only determines the responsibility of the
parties. The determination of whatever damages that might exist
is subject to a new arbitration process before the same
tribunal," YPF said in a statement to the Buenos Aires stock
"YPF is analyzing the grounds of this arbitration ruling and
will energetically defend its interests and those of its
shareholders," the company said.
The case was brought before an arbitration panel at the
Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce. Argentina's La
Nacion newspaper said in November that the companies - including
a third one that was not mentioned in the YPF statement - were
seeking $1.633 billion in compensation.
An industry source familiar with the case said the figure
was closer to $1.4 billion. The source said the third company
cited by La Nacion - Companhia de Gas do Estado do Rio Grande do
Sul (Sulgas), which is part-owned by Brazil's Petrobras
- sued alongside AESU and was included in the ruling.
Officials at YPF declined to comment, as did the spokeswoman
for Petrobras. No one was immediately available at the other
companies that won the arbitration case to provide details.
YPF's shares closed down 3.61 percent at 114.70 pesos per
share in Buenos Aires.
Transportadora de Gas del Mercosur operates an Argentine
pipeline that runs up to the border with Brazil. Its
shareholders include Argentina's Tecpetrol, France's Total
, Malaysia's Petronas and U.S.-based CMS Energy
AESU belongs to power utility AES Brasil, which is the
Brazilian unit of U.S. energy giant AES Corp.