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The IMF showed its concern for Vaca Muerta, which is semi paralyzed

As the days pass after a mission visit from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to the country, details of the content of its meetings with local ministers are known. In one of them, they asked about the situation of the energy industry and about the development of Dead cow.

The Minister of Productive Development, Matías Kulfas, was with the mission of the IMF. He talked about the price and salary agreement, and his vision to recover industrial growth. The IMF asked him few questions, but one of those questions was linked to the energy project and Vaca Muerta.

Kulfas, flanked by officials from different areas, replied that the government is working on a project to encourage investments in the oil industry. The official vision not only includes Vaca Muerta, but also reaches the production of conventional oil and gas.

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Nevertheless, in the private sector they say that project does not walk. An initial initiative of Guillermo Nielsen – head of YPF – came to Productive Development, but did not advance. President Alberto Fernández had promised the tankers that a law for Vaca Muerta could come into extraordinary sessions.

“It is not worth moving forward in a law as long as the debt issue is not resolved,” three oil executives explained to Clarion. “These projects require funding and capital will not be available until the country risk falls, something that could happen after a successful debt restructuring,” they added.

In the Executive Power they rule out that there is a close link between this law and debt restructuring. “The law will continue to advance,” official sources said.

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During the past week, government ministers addressed different issues that interest the IMF.

A pension reform came into the discussion in the words of Labor Minister Claudio Moroni, who then lowered his tone.

The same happened with the increases in electricity and gas rates: Cabinet chief Santiago Cafiero said they were under study, but President Fernández relativized them. The two issues generated questions at the IMF in its meetings with local ministers.

YPF never drilled as much in Vaca Muerta as it did last year. The unconventional activity there touched a record in relation to its participation over the total of its production. After the 2019 primaries, there was a price freeze that affected the entire sector. Then, YPF was thinking of moving forward by an increase of 5% since January, but it was slowed down.

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Dead Cow is going through a paralysis, With the loss of drilling equipment. There are American companies that want to invest in Neuquen formation, but want to know the rules of the game.

The Government has on its table some proposals to freeze the price of fuels. The price of a barrel of oil is falling and that takes some pressure off the matter.

However, local refiners warn of delays in the amounts that could hit their profitability.

Towards the future, an idea that floated in the Government was the setting up of a “trust” abroad from which companies could invest. That possibility isolated them from the “Argentine risk”, but the local companies did not like it. On the other hand, if there was a coincidence in allowing a percentage of the dollars generated by exports (30%) to be “freely available”.

In the sector they want a law passed by the entire political arc, to avoid subsequent revisions. “It is better to wait and get something out by consensus,” they crush.

In any case, the main agreement on energy policy is pending within the Government: the Secretary of Energy, Sergio Lanziani, depends on Kulfas. Nevertheless, They almost never go to a meeting together, which would be a sign of mismatch.

Nielsen (of YPF) does not make statements either and it is not clear what YPF’s direction under his management will be. Three of the key names of the official energy cast do not look aligned to the eyes of the sector.

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