Argentina announced on Friday (17 April) that it is initiating legal proceedings designed to stop five oil companies drilling in the seas around the Falkland Islands.
The statement came from Daniel Filmus, Argentina’s Minister for the Malvinas (the Argentinian name for the Falkland Islands), at a press conference held in London, in which he said that Argentina could even resort to extraditing oil company executives.
Three of the oil companies mentioned in the proposed lawsuit are British – Premier Oil, Falkland Oil & Gas and Rockhopper. The other two are US-based firms, Edison International and Noble Energy.
Filmus stated that a judge in Rio Grande, Argentina has agreed to take on the case and that the Argentinian Government would pursue it in both domestic and international courts.
“I want to make it clear for the directors of these companies and for British public opinion that Argentina will use the full force of the law to prevent these countries from taking the riches which belong to 40 million Argentine citizens. Argentina has extradition treaties around the world and we intend to use them,” Filmus told BBC News.
The three British companies have been concentrating their exploration efforts in the north Falklands Basin, which is located approximately 250 kilometres north of the islands in water depths of 250-350 metres. It is estimated that there are around 1bn barrels of recoverable oil around the British-held islands.
The Argentinian threat comes just two weeks after the consortium of three British firms struck oil at their Zebedee exploration well.