Argentina threatens with legal actions against Falklands oil explorers

by Hans | February 5th, 2010

FALKLANDS/ARGENTINA: Argentina reiterates warnings to the UK over the “illegality” and juridical consequences of having awarded oil exploration licenses in the Falkland Islands, which Argentina claims as part of its territory. “Argentina again warns the UK about the illegality and consequences of this new unilateral action, extensive to all private actors involved, that they will be liable of future legal demands in the maximum tribunals, for the potential exploration and exploitation of Argentine resources”, pointed out reliable sources from the Argentine Foreign Affairs office quoted by the Buenos Aires media.

Semi-submersible drilling rig “Ocean Guardian” en voyage to Falkland Islands

Last Tuesday the Argentine Foreign Affairs ministry summoned the British embassy Chargé d’affairs to express its “most energetic protest” because of the imminent beginning of exploratory drilling operations in waters to the north of the Falkland Islands. At the time some of the Buenos Aires press mentioned that Argentina could be considering taking the resources dispute case to the International Court of The Hague, but no government official ratified or rectified the news.

“It’s not accidental that the oil companies involved are British, that is to say, the only ones that can really believe the chimera that the UK is peddling about the alleged legality of these commercial operations”, added official Argentine sources. More over “there is no possibility at all of the military hypothesis claimed by the UK merely to disguise the illegality of its actions and deviate attention from the fact they are contrary, –by refusing to sit and negotiate a solution to the sovereignty dispute over the Islands–, to what was laid out by the international community. Attributing Argentina some kind of provocation can only be interpreted as a risky intimidation message to say the least”.

Finally “the British occupation makes the area, an area subject to a sovereignty dispute, which the United Nations recognizes as such and therefore, –as underlined by the UN–, none of the sides involved should modify the situation until the heart of the matter is solved, which is precisely contrary to what the United Kingdom is doing”.

The official Foreign Office longstanding policy, –and as such reiterated to Argentina– is that “the UK has no doubt over sovereignty over the Falkland Islands and surrounding maritime areas” and equally important “the Falklands government is entitled to develop a hydrocarbons industry within its waters” and the UK will support such a development.

Meantime the semi-submersible drilling rig “Ocean Guardian”, according to its contractor Desire Petroleum should be arriving in Falklands’ water by February 14. “Ocean Guardian” is towed by “Maersk Traveller” and is navigating with two support vessels, “Maersk Pacer” and “Toisa Invincible”. The area where Desire’s exploratory drilling will take place has been publicized and circulated among mariners, shipping companies, agents and all fishing companies.

Source: MercoPress

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