Argentina, UK to seek Falklands oil accord

The governments of Argentina and the UK have agreed to work toward removal of restrictions on oil and gas work offshore the Falkland Islands.

As part of its longstanding claim to sovereignty over the islands, the South American country in 2010 imposed restrictions on movements of ships between it, the Falklands—which it calls the Malvinas—and other islands in the South Atlantic (OGJ Online, Feb. 17, 2010).

The Argentine government, under former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, objected to offshore exploration then reviving under auspices of the government of what the UK considers one of its self-governing offshore territories.

Among results of drilling during that period was the discovery by Rockhopper Exploration PLC of Sea Lion oil field, which is under development (OGJ Online, Sept. 14, 2011).

Argentina and the UK fought a 74-day war over the Falklands in 1982 and didn’t reestablish diplomatic relations until 1990.

Mauricio Macri, who replaced Fernandez de Kirchner as president last December, has moved to improve relations with the UK.

He met with British Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan during a series of high-level meetings in Buenos Aires this month that yielded an agreement on travel and other issues related to the Falklands and that included the statement about working toward lifting restrictions on oil and gas activity.

In a visit to London before those meetings, Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra said her government would be willing to pursue joint exploration in the Falklands.

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