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YPF Said to Start Exporting Crude After Refinery Fire

April 17 (Bloomberg) -- YPF SA, Argentina’s largest oil company, signed contracts to export crude as its La Plata refinery operates at about half of normal output levels after a fire earlier this month, a government official said.

YPF will export about 660,000 cubic meters (4.15 million barrels) from the San Jorge gulf basin over the next two months, said the official, who asked not to be named because the arrangement hasn’t been made public.

The state-owned company will have to spend an additional $400 million to import fuel to supply service stations after a flood and fire at La Plata reduced output. The cost will be mitigated by the crude exports that probably will start this week at ports from the southern provinces of Santa Cruz and Chubut, the official said.

YPF spokesman Alejandro Di Lazzaro and the Planning Ministry’s Horacio Mizrahi declined to comment in e-mailed responses to questions on crude exports arrangements.

YPF hasn’t exported crude in the last year, according to Energy Department data. Chubut and Santa Cruz will receive royalties on sales at $110 per barrel rather than $70 paid by the company when selling to the local market, the official said.

The refinery is producing about 14,000 cubic meters per day compared with 28,000 before the April 2 fire, the government official said. While output will ramp up in the coming days, the plant probably won’t return to normal levels this year, suggesting exports will continue beyond the two-month period, the official said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Pablo Gonzalez in Buenos Aires at pgonzalez49@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.net

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