Argentina to prosecute UK oil firms operating in Falklands

Small Business InsuranceArgentina has announced that it plans to launch criminal proceedings against five British oil firms who are operating off the coast of the Falkland Islands.

Desire Petroleum, Falkland Oil and Gas, Rockhopper Exploration, Borders and Southern Petroleum and Argos resources are the subject of the Argentine investigation, on the grounds that they are operating “in a sovereign area of the Argentine nation and as such fall within its specified laws and rules”. Argentine President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has declared their business to be illegal as they have not been authorised by the Argentine government.

The UK government has declared full support for the oil firms involved, with a spokeswoman for the Foreign Office saying “Hydrocarbon exploration in the Falklands is a legitimate commercial venture.

“The British government supports the right of the Falkland Islanders to develop their own natural resources for their own economic benefit. This right is an integral part of their right of self-determination.” She continued, “We remain clear that domestic Argentine legislation does not apply to the Falkland Islands or South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

“We are studying Argentina’s remarks carefully and will work closely with any company potentially affected to ensure that the practical implications for them are as few as possible.”

The Falkland Islands have been ruled by Britain since 1833, having been successfully defended in a war which took place in 1982. The oil firms in question have been operating in the area for approximately two years, with only one having made a significant oil discovery during that time.

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