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Argentina: An Overview of the Argentine Regulatory Framework and Main Changes in 2012 Scenario: Regulatory Prospects For 2013 in the Light of High Consumer Demand

Amalia Sáenz, International Mining and Oil & Gas Law, Development, and Investment (2013)

When looking back to the first days of January 2012, no rational person would have bet that there would be so many changes in the Argentine oil & gas industry in only one year. Nevertheless, changes were essential to encourage the exploration, exploitation, refining, transportation and commercialization of hydrocarbons and fuels throughout the territory.

There were two main reasons why changes were vital for the Argentine oil & gas industry: (i) The decline in Argentine hydrocarbons production leading the country to depend upon energy imports; and (ii) The introduction of a new trend unconventional resources- as a way to ensure self-sufficiency in hydrocarbons.

Whether the oil & gas scenario has changed over the past year remains to be seen. At this time, new policies and incentives intended to attract international investments still continue to be a matter for debate. Although new regulations were laid down, supplementary regulations may be necessary for developing this new and promising trend.

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A. Argentina's Oil & Gas Market.

Before considering the new regulatory framework, it is important to note that Argentine energy supply derives from fossil resources: oil (34%) and natural gas: (51%). Also, energy consumption has been about 3.4% over the last 50 years. In the last decade energy demand has boosted to 5.1% per year.