Argentine Court Orders YPF to Reveal Details of Chevron Pact

  • $16 billion shale venture deal must be made public, court says
  • State-run YPF must provide access to information: ruling

YPF SA will have to fully disclose its pact with Chevron Corp. to develop shale oil in northwestern Patagonia, Argentina’s highest court ruled.

By a 3-1 vote, court justices ruled Tuesday in favor of a request filed by Senator Ruben Giustiniani, who is seeking information on contractual clauses in the $16 billion joint venture, the largest shale investment outside the U.S. Giustanini, from the Socialist party, unsuccessfully tried to get the information from YPF.

In July 2013, the world’s third-largest oil company signed an accord with Argentina’s state-controlled producer to invest an initial $1.6 billion in a pilot operation that a year later turned Chevron into the largest foreign producer of shale oil in the country. After drilling 170 wells in the Vaca Muerta formation, the world’s second-largest shale gas deposit and fourth-largest shale oil reservoir, both companies extended the venture under a 35-year concession. It’s producing about 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day.

Details of the pact were never revealed despite requests from environmentalists who sought information on the impact of hydraulic fracturing in the area.

Environmental Concerns

The three concurring justices said they based their decision on the right to access information and the fact that YPF is majority owned by the government.

YPF will comply with the ruling, the company said by e-mail. Isabel Ordonez, a Chevron spokeswoman, couldn’t immediately comment.

"Environmental concerns while the shale play is still in its infancy in Argentina will slow development, preventing it from reaching the scale needed to develop more efficiencies," Gurpal Dosanjh, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst, said in an e-mailed statement.

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