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BP Venture’s Oil License May Be Revoked, Chubut Says

Argentina’s Chubut province is reviewing the license of an oil field operated by a BP Plc joint venture and may revoke it, the provincial oil minister said.

The review started after operations were interrupted last month during a workers’ protest, Minister Ezequiel Cufre said in an interview in Buenos Aires. BP owns 60 percent of Pan American Energy LLC, which operates Cerro Dragon in southern Argentina.

An estimated 54 percent of the oil field’s output was restored as of June 30 following a strike by construction workers who sought the same pay as oil workers. Pan American has said it may fire construction workers who went on strike for almost three weeks and damaged company property.

“If the company continues in its attempt to fire 173 employees and acts with intransigence, we will retaliate with the same intransigence,” Cufre said. “Firing that many workers could represent a breach of contract terms and the license could be revoked. No one should be fired until declared guilty by a court following a valid process, nor should the contracts be terminated.”

The remaining 40 percent stake in Pan American is owned by Bridas Corp., a joint venture comprised of China’s Cnooc Ltd. and Argentina’s Bulgheroni brothers.

“The people who caused damage and vandalism in Cerro Dragon shouldn’t come back to work at the oil field,” Pan American Energy Institutional Relations Vice President Guillermo Baistrocchi said in an e-mailed response.

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