It makes no sense to have oil if multinationals take it away, says Argentine opposition leader

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MADRID – Peronist presidential candidate of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, said on Thursday that it makes no sense to have oil if international companies take it away.

“It makes no sense to have oil if to extract it you have to let the multinationals take it away,” Fernández said after addressing the Spanish Parliament in Madrid.

“I have no problem with multinationals, but my main concern is to generate wealth for Argentina and the Argentines,” said the Peronist, the main challenger to current Argentine President Mauricio Macri in the October elections.

Seven years ago, former President Cristina Kirchner – who is Fernández’s vice-presidential candidate in this year’s elections – expropriated Repsol’s participation in Argentina’s state oil company YPF in a move that plagued the appetite of foreign investors.

Macri has tried to cultivate a business-friendly atmosphere to bring investors back to the country and develop energy assets, including the Belgian-sized Vaca Muerta Reserve that may house one of the largest oil and gas deposits on the planet.

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The country is expected to record a surplus in energy trade next year for the first time in a decade, Energy Secretary Gustavo Lopetegui said.

Cristina Kirchner, during her tenure, tried to use the Vaca Muerta reserve to reverse Argentina’s energy deficit, but plans were hampered by a lack of infrastructure and a lack of investment.

In the face of a new economic collapse and with the dollar rising above 60 pesos, the Government of Mauricio Macri had to resort to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to pay off Argentine foreign debt.

Professor of international political economy, Eduardo Crespo, from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), argues that as much as the drop in exports generates negative consequences for Brazil, it is not a determining factor for the poor performance of the Brazilian economy.

“International trade, regardless of Argentina is not experiencing growth, on the contrary, there is a tendency to close international trade. In this context, obviously, a very large drop in Argentine exports has a negative effect, but I don’t think that is the factor which will explain that Brazil cannot grow,” he said.

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