Repsol SA won the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by units of Argentina’s Bridas Group in New York seeking to prevent the Spanish oil producer from blocking a $1.5 billion shale-gas project.
The group’s Virgin Islands-based Bridas International and Bridas Energy Holdings units sued Madrid-based Repsol on Jan. 3 in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, saying the company threatened in letters to try to block the deal with YPF SA.
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s government seized YPF, the country’s biggest oil producer, from Repsol in April. Justice Shirley Werner Kornreich threw out the suit today, citing a related complaint filed by Repsol in Spain shortly after Bridas filed its suit in New York.
“No sophisticated investor ought to part with its money -- especially when that sum is in excess of a billion dollars -- absent reasonable assurances that its investment is on solid legal footing,” Kornreich wrote. “However, a declaratory judgment would ’not serve a practical end’ in resolving the parties’ dispute because a judgment by this court is not going to absolve Bridas of liability in the Spanish action nor will it provide assurances that all will go smoothly for Bridas in Argentina.”
Argentina’s Bridas Group is an oil producer controlled by the billionaire Bulgheroni brothers and China National Offshore Oil Corp.
Mario Calafell Loza, a spokesman in Argentina for the Bulgheroni brothers, wasn’t immediately available to comment on the ruling, his assistant in his Buenos Aires office said by phone.
The case is Bridas International SA v. Repsol SA, 650018/2013, New York State Supreme Court (Manhattan).