• Nine out of ten provinces pledge support at meeting in Neuquen
  • Candidate promises to maintain competitive domestic prices

Argentina’s ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli obtained the support of the governors of oil-producing provinces ahead of Oct. 25 elections at a summit in Neuquen province, the home of the Belgium-sized shale deposit Vaca Muerta.

Scioli, his vice presidential candidate Carlos Zannini and governors of nine out of 10 oil provinces signed a document to support the continuity of energy policies if he leads the next government starting Dec. 10. The document includes pledges to keep the benefits for shale producers, offshore drilling projects as well as conventional production in a bid to curb energy imports.

The pledge of support from governors including Neuquen and Chubut province, is a key sign of support from fellow Peronists and provincial parties in Scioli’s attempt at succeeding President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Since seizing YPF from Spain’s Repsol SA in 2012, the government has set the domestic price for oil at $77 a barrel and natural gas prices well above international levels to stimulate investment and production.

“Daniel Scioli is the guarantee to sustain the current energy policies that have made Argentina the third country in rigs in the Americas,” Chubut Governor Martin Buzzi, who heads the committee of the 10 provinces, said at the event. “We must continue producing.”

YPF’s chief executive officer Miguel Galuccio, Pan American Energy LLC’s vice president for commercial development Marcos Bulgheroni, Economy Minister Axel Kicillof and Planning Minister Julio de Vido also attended the meeting. Santa Cruz province was the only energy-producing regional government to skip the conference.

Scioli, the ruling party candidate, attracted the most votes in primaries to choose presidential candidates in August. The current governor of Buenos Aires province, Scioli had 36.7 percent support against 29.2 percent for Buenos Aires city Mayor Mauricio Macri and 17.1 percent for lawmaker Sergio Massa, according to a Management & Fit poll taken late last month.

Scioli needs 45 percent of the vote on Oct. 25 to avoid a second round or more than 40 percent with a 10 percentage point advantage over the runner-up.

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