YPF expropriation clouds the allure of Argentine shale

On its way down the proverbial slippery slope toward economic statism, Argentina has laid claim to oil and gas assets worth, oh, $18 billion or so. That's the value Repsol of Spain assigns YPF, its 57%-owned Argentine oil and gas subsidiary. President Cristina Ferandez de Kirchner on Apr. 16 announced plans to expropriate 51% of YPF—just before authorities promptly entered YPF's office in Buenos Aires and expelled the staff. Repsol bought YPF, formerly the national oil company in 1999, 6 years after it was privatized. In a sense, the government is reclaiming what once belonged to it, apparently without feeling obliged to pay. This all happens during a period of rising interest in Argentin...

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