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Général

Développement

Décrivez les domaines de développement énergétique dans le pays.

La matrice énergétique de l’Argentine est très diversifiée. Les sources d’énergie comprennent l’hydroélectricité (environ 34%), les turbines au gaz naturel (60%), le nucléaire (5%) et d’autres (2%). Toutefois, depuis 2003, l’Argentine est passée du statut d’exportateur net d’énergie à celui d’importateur net, du fait de l’ingérence du marché imputable aux politiques gouvernementales (maintenant abandonnées) qui ont bloqué les investissements. Jusqu'à 25% de la demande globale en gaz naturel provient du gaz naturel importé par le gouvernement de Bolivie et des sources de GNL à regazéifier, à des prix nettement supérieurs aux prix intérieurs imposés sur l'offre locale en amont, dans un labyrinthe de Différences de prix en fonction de la source d'approvisionnement (production existante, production "nouvelle" ou non conventionnelle dans le cadre de programmes spécialement approuvés, arrivant à son terme, en dehors des projets de gaz de schiste déjà approuvés dans le cadre des résolutions ME 46/17 – modifiée par la résolution MIM 12/18 et 447/17). Ces programmes ont contribué à un déficit public croissant jusqu'en 2014, depuis réduit en raison de la chute des prix internationaux de l'énergie, en l'occurrence du GNL importé. Depuis 2013, la production de pétrole brut a été épargnée par cette ingérence (celle des années précédentes avait instauré une retenue à la source à l'exportation entraînant un prix de 42 USD par baril pour le producteur national de pétrole brut à un moment où le prix international était au moins le double), par le gouvernement mettant fin à cette retenue à l'exportation et parrainant un "accord" entre l'industrie pétrolière en aval et en amont, garantissant 67 USD par baril national (bien qu'il ne soit pas entièrement respecté, les raffineries réduisant le prix d'achat à des valeurs inférieures à celles de l'accord, décrit ci-dessous) jusqu’à la fin de 2016, a fait supporter aux consommateurs un prix de l’essence fortement taxé. En décembre 2016, la convergence avec les prix internationaux a été recherchée par le renouvellement d'un accord entre l'amont (soutenu par les provinces productrices de pétrole et les syndicats) et l'aval pour l'établissement d'un plancher de 55 USD par baril (47 USD pour le type plus lourd). pour 2017, sous la supervision du gouvernement. Le gouvernement a agi en tant qu’arbitre en relâchant le contrôle sur les importations et, d’autre part, en autorisant des augmentations trimestrielles de l’essence (afin de suivre le rythme de l’inflation) afin de les aligner sur les prix du pétrole brut en amont sur une base nette. Il est évident que des prix du pétrole brut aussi élevés que la parité d’importation ont été maintenus grâce à un contrôle des importations limitant les achats très concentrés de pétrole brut importé par les quatre raffineries. Alors que les prix internationaux du pétrole brut ont augmenté en 2017 pour atteindre le même niveau que les prix locaux, le gouvernement a annoncé qu'aucun contrôle préalable sur les importations de pétrole brut (et leurs sous-produits) ne serait effectué qu'à partir de la fin de 2017. Décret 962/17, remplacé par le décret 192/17 et la résolution 47 € / 17, qui établissait l'ordre hiérarchique des importateurs en fonction des données accumulées qui avaient officialisé une mesure de contrôle des importations peu rendue publique adoptée jusqu'à présent par le gouvernement. Aux prix actuels, aucune incitation n'est envisagée pour les techniques de récupération secondaires ou autres, dans les gisements conventionnels à prédominance pétrolière existants, afin de contrer la baisse de 7 ou 8% de la production d'agrégats pétroliers en Argentine en 2017. Cependant, la courbe ascendante reflétant l'expansion de l'huile de schiste en 2018, qui nécessitera également l'expansion de l'oléoduc actuel Oldeval. En outre, en vertu du décret 872/18 (Re SE 65/18), de vastes zones offshore ont été ouvertes aux enchères ouvertes dans les trois bassins potentiels du territoire atlantique et de la zone économique exclusive de l'Argentine, en vertu de la loi 27007 sur les hydrocarbures. Permis de permis d'exploration:

  • deux périodes, quatre + quatre ans, plus une prolongation pouvant aller jusqu'à cinq ans après une renonciation de 50%, avec des charges de surface plus lourdes que celles de la période précédente (compromis avec les œuvres, admis), et le droit de demander une période de 30 ans (plus les extensions successives de 10 ans, avec une augmentation de redevances de 3% pour chaque prolongation en plus de l'ancienne redevance, jusqu'à 18%), concession d'exploitation, soumise à une échelle mobile de redevances de 5, 6 ou 12%, le ratio des ventes de certains hydrocarbures par rapport aux investissements (mais il peut être réduit de moitié, en fonction des conditions de l'offre); et
  • les exportations sont épargnées par les envois de fonds – à l’exception de la retenue actuelle exceptionnelle et exceptionnelle sur les exportations, qui s’élève à 10% au taux de change actuel, diminuant au même niveau que l’inflation intérieure à partir du troisième trimestre de 2018, imposée à la suite de la crise à en deçà – jusqu'à 60% (actuellement, les exportations sont totalement exemptes des restrictions en matière d'envoi de fonds et de change, ainsi ces 60% servent de plancher en cas de restrictions futures).

Les soumissionnaires (avec des qualifications économiques et techniques satisfaisantes) offriront un bonus d’accès, des engagements de travail ou des investissements pour développer les cautionnements de prospect et de conformité (et, le cas échéant, les cautionnements d'exécution). L'engagement le plus élevé plus un bonus est attribué.

En ce qui concerne le gaz naturel, la route a été plus cahoteuse. Le gouvernement avait défini (résolution du ministère de l'Énergie et des Mines 28/16) le coût en amont des tarifs du gaz naturel d'environ 5 dollars EU par million de Btu, qui devait être répercuté sur les tarifs de distribution, réduisant ainsi l'écart avec les prix historiquement déprimés du prix du gaz. production de gaz naturel, en fonction des différentes destinations (clients résidentiels ou gros clients). Dans une tentative partielle de les corriger, la résolution s’appuyait toutefois sur des résolutions antérieures adoptées par le gouvernement précédent qui dépassaient les pouvoirs de réglementation. Dans un recours collectif, la Cour suprême fédérale (bien que limitée aux clients résidentiels) a annulé la répercussion de ces coûts en amont sur les tarifs (les détails du cas sont discutés ci-dessous). Le gouvernement a rapidement suivi le critère énoncé dans la sentence et, après avoir convoqué des audiences publiques pour débattre de ces questions, a ramené l’augmentation de la transmission à un prix médian de 3,97 USD par MBtu (5,22 USD pour le producteur de gaz) avec une augmentation évolution des prix (à partir de mars 2017, 4,72 USD et 5,64 USD pour le producteur de gaz, conformément à la résolution 74 € / 17 €) pour les trois prochaines années, jusqu'à 6,8 USD par MBtu jusqu'à la fin de 2019 (résolution 212 € / 2016; remplacée par la Résolution 474-E 2017). Les tarifs de distribution de l'électricité et du gaz naturel ont continué à connaître des augmentations visant à aligner les valeurs subventionnées sur les prix sur les prix du marché. Toutefois, en vertu de l'article 8 du décret d'exécution du budget fédéral n ° 1053/18 (remplaçant la résolution ENARGAS 20/18, qui a différé les hausses de prix dues aux variations de change), à ​​compter du deuxième trimestre de 2019, les distributeurs de gaz ne seront pas répercutés sur les tarifs en dollars les variations du prix du gaz en amont au cours de chaque période tarifaire de six mois, et les contrats de fourniture avec les producteurs doivent refléter cette restriction. Jusque-là, le gouvernement assume le fardeau de la perte de change représentée par les variations intermédiaires de change dues et non payées par les distributeurs de gaz.

Les prix du gaz de source conventionnelle en amont ont suivi la tendance, tout en respectant les procédures d’audience publique selon les directives de la Cour suprême, qui désamorcaient les conflits, tandis que les augmentations des tarifs de rachat à valeur ajoutée des distributeurs résultaient des révisions tarifaires effectuées par les agences gouvernementales concernées, ENARGAS et ENRE. Au second semestre de 2018, de nouveaux plafonds ont été fixés pour les prix des points de gazoducs de passage, les ramenant à 3,60 USD à 4,42 USD par MBtu, selon les bassins, pour le gaz en amont non soumis à la programmes spéciaux pour l'exploitation des gaz de schiste. Les plans de gaz ont été conservés pour 2017, récompensant une production non conventionnelle (gaz de schiste et gaz de confinement, ainsi qu'une production supérieure aux niveaux historiques par bassin et par champ, ajustée en fonction de leur épuisement naturel) avec un différentiel garanti jusqu'à 7,5 USD par personne. MMBtu. Résolution du ministre de l'Énergie 46/17 euros, complétée par la résolution 419/17 (et la résolution 447 euros / 17 jusqu'au bassin austral), proroge le soutien des prix du gouvernement américain à 7,5 USD / MMBtu pour le gaz non conventionnel (à l'état serré ou schiste) devrait être maintenue en 2018 (l’Argentine est la deuxième plus grande réserve de gaz de schiste au monde) et avec une trajectoire décroissante jusqu’en 2021 avec 6 USD / MMBt, garantissant un tel plancher (net de redevances) par rapport au prix médian de l’ensemble des ressources naturelles. ventes de gaz (conventionnelles ou non, de source nationale) en Argentine (initialement, la comparaison était avec celle du demandeur). Mais cette extension est maintenant réservée à la production incrémentielle des champs (sans tenir compte de leur courbe descendante), ou aux nouveaux, à partir de 2017, confirmant le vieil adage selon lequel ce qui est nouveau aujourd'hui devient vieux demain aux yeux d'un régulateur; une source de conflits. Une augmentation significative de la production de gaz de schiste dans le cadre des programmes de promotion se poursuit, avec une forte tendance à la croissance pour les années à venir, montrant que le retour sur investissement à court terme de chaque fracture est un bonus mais en même temps un avertissement, car il est extrêmement sensible aux réglementations. changements (et, bien que moins, les changements du marché, une fois déréglementés), avec des coûts irrécupérables moindres, ce qui devrait désamorcer les pratiques prédatrices du gouvernement. Ce n’est pas le seul facteur qui détermine la nécessité de maintenir les pratiques réglementaires, assurant ainsi l’ouverture du marché, car l’infrastructure nécessaire pour acheminer celui-ci aux consommateurs a besoin de l’extension du gazoduc, ce qui nécessite également la signature d’accords de transport fermes et à long terme avec les producteurs et avec une stabilité. demande au bout du tuyau. Un nouveau gazoduc est déjà en construction pour relier les champs de gaz de schiste aux gazoducs principaux, aux centres de consommation, puis au hub de consommateurs et aux futures exportations de GNL, via le projet de gazoduc Gasoducto del Litoral, dans la mesure des capacités de transport du gazoduc existant atteignant rapidement son pic de consommation saisonnière (hiver). À l'hiver 2019, les gazoducs domestiques qui atteindront les consommateurs auront atteint leur capacité maximale, ne laissant aucune place à un accès ouvert pour les tiers. Le cadre réglementaire permet à un ou plusieurs concessionnaires d’exploitation du gaz d’avoir leur propre gazoduc pour injecter leur gaz (article 1, décret 589/17, modifiant le décret 729/95), laissant le processus d’approbation tarifaire à un tiers. expéditeurs de transport de gaz en excès de leur propre gaz.

Les exportations de gaz, interdites depuis plus de 10 ans (en raison de l'absence d'approbations et de retenues d'exportations ridiculement chères), sont désormais autorisées (décret 962/17) à condition qu'elles incluent des clauses de fourniture interruptible sans pénalité pour interruption, en coexistant avec du GNL saisonnier et substantiel importations et avec le contrat gazier avec la Bolivie (résolution 407/17 MEyM concernant les exportations de l’Agence nationale Enarsa et l’autorisation des échanges). Le décret MEyM 962/17 pour les exportations de produits interruptibles a été suivi de la résolution RES MEyM 104/18 pour les exportations à court et à long terme, à durée déterminée ou interruptible, ou les exportations estivales avec un droit d'échange pour importer du gaz ou de l'électricité en hiver, avec restrictions, toutefois, en liaison avec la vérification périodique (tous les cinq ans) que l’offre intérieure globale reste assurée et qu'elle est théoriquement soumise à la demande intérieure à des conditions similaires au moment (cinq jours) de la demande d’approbation, auquel cas cet achat de gaz domestique par la partie intéressée l'emporte. Les exportations de gaz (provenant de sources autres que celles qui bénéficient de la garantie du prix de la Res 46/17) sont toutefois soumises à une éventuelle interruption en cas de sous-approvisionnement national. Une planification à long terme et des règles stables sont également nécessaires dans ce domaine.

L'Argentine, deuxième plus grand détenteur de ressources en gaz de schiste au monde (devenant rapidement des réserves en raison de la courbe d'apprentissage abrupte acquise avec l'exploitation existante), réalisera bientôt un tiers de sa production totale de gaz naturel avec du gaz de schiste. Elle est donc dans une position concurrentielle avantageuse pour (i) exporter du gaz au Chili, en Uruguay ou au Brésil par l’intermédiaire des gazoducs internationaux existants qui sont restés inactifs au cours de la dernière décennie en raison de la demande intérieure sur un marché dirigé par les pouvoirs publics et (ii) pour installer la liquéfaction. des usines d’exportation de GNL (que ce soit par le biais de deux projets existants – de YPF et de TGS – ou par le Chili, atteignant l’océan Pacifique en mettant en place une usine de liquéfaction dans ce pays). Cela permettrait également de passer rapidement d'une matrice de prix intérieurs à parité importation à une structure à parité exportatrice, avec un impact profond, car la tarification du gaz en Argentine devrait se développer sur un marché ouvert, en laissant de côté sa segmentation actuelle résultant de la coexistence de schistes spéciaux. les programmes de gaz, le dégazage de GNL importé et la répartition des prix du gaz classique, d’une part, et la convergence des différentiels de prix actuels en fonction de la destination vers la production d’énergie industrielle, résidentielle ou thermique. Un marché unique devrait définir les prix, là où l'offre et la demande se rencontrent.

Le gouvernement envisageait de rétablir le marché au comptant du gaz naturel des années 90 à partir du deuxième semestre de 2018, sous réserve de nouveaux reports, tout en fixant provisoirement des quotas d'approvisionnement alloués aux distributeurs à des prix et à des priorités d'expédition déterminés. Cela rappelle le marché sur-réglementé des prix du gaz séparés qui a conduit à la stagnation des investissements de 2002 à 2009 (une description de celle-ci peut être trouvée dans 'Eminent Domain and Regulatory Changes' de Luis Erize, dans Property and the Law in Énergie et ressources naturelles, Oxford University Press), désormais freinée par l'évolution des prix des nouveaux investissements dans l'exploitation non conventionnelle. La transition vers des politiques d'ouverture du marché exige une série de mesures visant à faire converger différentes sources de gaz à prix différents (conventionnelles, non conventionnelles, importées) en un marché à prix unique, au niveau des signaux de retour net, de prix à l'importation, à la parité tarifs pour les clients en aval et pour que le marché fixe le prix des groupes électrogènes au gaz (et des consommateurs industriels, le secteur de la demande unique n'étant apparemment pas réglementé à l'heure actuelle). Mais cela nécessiterait le rôle de premier plan d’un marché de contrats à durée déterminée standardisés pour les distributeurs, les gros clients et les producteurs d’électricité, ainsi que des réformes similaires dans le secteur de l’électricité afin d’éviter les comportements opportunistes susceptibles de compromettre la fiabilité de l’approvisionnement (ce qui nécessite également des contrats de capacité d’énergie). contrats de fourniture de gaz non interruptibles à mettre en place). Ainsi, les marchés au comptant de gaz naturel et d’électricité devraient être laissés au soin de résoudre les problèmes de manque de fournisseurs contractuels, et non pas établis comme le marché sur lequel la majeure partie des transactions serait effectuée. (Apparemment, le gouvernement commence à envisager des solutions pour les marchés contractuels proposées dans le document de Luis Erize intitulé "L'énergie électrique en Argentine: diagnostic de la distorsion de la réglementation, du déficit d'investissement et du projet de développement durable", publié dans RADEHM, Revista Argentina de Derecho de la Energía, Hydrocarbures et mines, n ° 7, novembre-décembre 2015, p. 285-330). Le gouvernement, par l’intermédiaire de CAMMESA (le centre de distribution et de courtage d’électricité, qui a été reconverti en fournisseur de gaz aux générateurs thermiques, monopolisant ainsi l’achat auprès des producteurs), a lancé un appel d’offres pour la fourniture estivale de gaz à ces consommateurs Res ME46 / 18 (et espérant que les groupes électrogènes réaliseront un achat conjoint de gaz provenant de sources de GNL remplaçant le gouvernement, épargnant ainsi les pertes subies par ce dernier). Toutefois, ce n’est pas simplement en exigeant une carte électronique faisant office de marché des changes ou de plaque tournante que l’on obtiendra la concurrence: des contrats à durée déterminée normalisés, entièrement négociables et assortis de garanties suffisantes de fourniture ou de paiement de gaz de substitution à des prix pénalisés, doivent être définis en conséquence dans un marché ouvert entièrement déréglementé – tant pour l'électricité que pour le gaz naturel, compte tenu de leur interdépendance en Argentine. Cela exige également que la sécurité d'approvisionnement soit prise en compte et que les commandes d'expédition soient établies dans les deux secteurs conformément à des règles objectives. En fait, le Mercado Electrónico del Gas, créé par l’article 6 du décret 180/04, ne s’est jamais matérialisé du fait de l’ingérence du gouvernement dans les prix, les règles d’expédition, la segmentation des marchés, etc. La réinstallation de cet échange par la résolution SE 1146/04, sous-secrétaire aux carburants 116/04 et note SSC 987/06, et 260/05, se terminant par le dispositif 156/06, ne servaient à aucune fin pratique à une époque où le prix et l'expédition étaient le recours du gouvernement.

En conclusion, la révolution des schistes énergétiques dans le secteur de l’énergie a l’élan nécessaire pour remplacer dans une large mesure les importations de GNL. L'une des barges de l'usine de GNL a été restituée à son propriétaire et, au contraire, YPF a déjà réservé une usine de liquéfaction mobile pour que le gaz soit livré au pôle pétrochimique de Bahía Blanca afin d'exporter du GNL. Les exportations devraient donc être dirigées vers le Chili et le Brésil via l'Uruguay, via les pipelines internationaux existants, et vers toute autre destination, une fois les usines de liquéfaction installées, ainsi que de nouveaux projets d'oléoduc déjà en cours (le Gasoducto Litoral pour 1 000 km supplémentaires). une reliant la zone de gaz de schiste Vaca Muerta aux gazoducs principaux), ainsi que l’augmentation du traitement du riche gaz de schiste par le liquide.

Le scénario actuel prévoit une augmentation progressive et régulée de la part des énergies renouvelables dans la matrice de production d’électricité pour atteindre, à compter de la fin de 2018, 8% de l’ensemble de la production d’électricité, et augmenter dans les années à venir jusqu’à 20% sur une base annuelle. échelle mobile (elle est actuellement inférieure à 3%, hydroélectricité exclue, ce qui a pour effet de différer la date butoir). Cela a conduit à des rangées successives (la première, ultérieurement agrandie; une seconde, par les résolutions ME & N 252/16 et 275/17, et une nouvelle résolution par la résolution SE 100/18 (assouplissement des exigences rigoureuses en matière de valeur économique minimale et de clauses d'ajustement handicapant et de prime applicables aux tours précédents) des offres publiques de CAMMESA pour des contrats d'approvisionnement de 20 ans » offres (étiquetées comme des ventes groupées), à un prix sujet à escalade, pour tenter d'atteindre de tels objectifs du côté de l'offre.La priorité d'expédition pour la fourniture d'énergies renouvelables est définie dans la Résolution MEyM 281-F / 17. , etc.) au-delà d'une capacité les demandes supérieures à 300 kW doivent respecter le quota de 8% d’énergies renouvelables en ce qui concerne leur propre demande globale en énergie. La réglementation de la demande globale d’énergie renouvelable obtenue permet une certaine concurrence avec l’énergie achetée par le gouvernement (ventes communes), avec les offres restantes d’énergies renouvelables pouvant être installées pour les consommateurs industriels ou l’énergie renouvelable générée automatiquement par les gros consommateurs. Cette concurrence est soumise à un choix radical (conformément à la résolution MEyM 281-E / 17 et à la disposition SSRE 1-E / 18) des gros consommateurs, tous les cinq ans, de décider si leur quota de consommation de 8% d'énergies renouvelables seront remplis dans un sens ou dans l’autre, car ils ne pourront pas passer d’une source à l’autre pendant cette période.

Pour donner une certaine flexibilité, les gros consommateurs ont été autorisés à éviter de faire un tel choix, consommant ainsi de l’énergie renouvelable provenant du pool de vente commun de CAMMESA et d’autres énergies renouvelables, mais faisant face à des coûts supplémentaires pour les réserves d’énergie et autres charges.

Ainsi, un système de quotas sépare la demande captive d'énergies renouvelables du reste de l'offre d'énergie globale, et un choix forcé entre:

  1. offre soutenue par le gouvernement (les ventes communes) (au prix médian de toutes les offres susmentionnées); et
  2. l'offre obtenue sur un marché soi-disant libre, ou par autoproduction par les gros consommateurs eux-mêmes, semble être une méthode déroutante pour assurer (en rendant assez risqué pour un gros consommateur de se retirer) que la future production déjà acquise par le gouvernement du les adjudicataires (les ventes en commun) satisferont efficacement leur demande captive.

En effet, un défaut individuel du quota annuel de consommation d’énergies renouvelables par chaque grand consommateur industriel et la consommation d’électricité résultante correspondant à ce déficit, provenant de sources autres que les énergies renouvelables sous-traitées par l’offre gouvernementale mentionnée au point (i) ci-dessus, seront: lourdement pénalisé.

Le gouvernement cherche à résoudre l'intermittence des énergies renouvelables, pour lesquelles les enchères sont autorisées sans engagement de capacité, en offrant des sauvegardes de capacité pour la passation de tels contrats aux gros consommateurs à un prix qui fera l'objet d'offres distinctes, avec des résultats imprévisibles. La complexité du système est aggravée par les faiblesses du réseau, une priorité de dépannage s'ajoutant à l'incertitude qui pèse sur de tels choix à moyen et long terme. En outre, la redistribution de l’énergie par les clients capables d’injecter leur propre génération dans le réseau (loi 27424, telle que régie par le décret 986/18) ajoute des exigences strictes en matière de mesure et de garantie de la fiabilité du système.

Si, en revanche, le marché du gaz naturel (de toute source) était exempt de toute ingérence réglementaire, il atteindrait un prix de parité à l'importation (fluctuant actuellement autour de 6 USD / MMBtu pour les sources de regas de GNL importées), un importateur net représentant jusqu’à 25% de sa consommation totale de gaz. Cela libérerait ainsi le gouvernement du lourd fardeau que représente le maintien de ces programmes (étant donné que l'écart de prix entre le prix international et le prix du marché intérieur serait considérablement réduit). La parité des importations est la loi absolue des marchés, qui balaye les concepts de prix de référence erronés sur les plans économique et technique en calculant les prix Henry Hub, ainsi que les coûts de transport dans le pays (liquéfaction et transport représentant chacun un tiers du prix du GNL), le GNL étant une marchandise. cela fait varier ses prix sur place en fonction de la disponibilité du fret. Les projets de gaz de schiste et de gaz étroits s’attendent à un atterrissage en douceur des prix du marché qui, une fois libérés des mesures réglementaires, atteindrait le niveau de parité à l’importation, les rendant ainsi rentables. Le déclin considérablement rapide de l’exploitation des schistes et la nécessité de poursuivre les investissements à court terme exigent des règles stables pour établir des prévisions à long terme.

L’Argentine est actuellement l’un des premiers pays producteurs de ressources non conventionnelles (schiste) (deuxième pour le gaz de schiste, quatrième pour le pétrole de schiste) et l’un des premiers pays à explorer et à développer ces ressources en dehors des États-Unis.

Les perspectives de développement ultérieur peuvent être attendues à la suite de ce qui suit:

  • les réformes législatives (en 2014) étendant les concessions d'exploitation actuelles – principalement au profit de la YPF contrôlée par l'État (le principal acteur du secteur du pétrole et du gaz en amont et en aval de l'Argentine) – et de nouveaux renouvellements;
  • l'atterrissage en douceur de la fin (pour le moment, en fonction de l'évolution satisfaisante des prix internationaux du pétrole brut) des prix intérieurs; et
  • la nécessité de réduire le déficit budgétaire public (nécessitant également une réduction significative des subventions à la consommation d'électricité et de gaz naturel) et le déficit commercial global causé par d'importantes importations d'énergie, ce qui entraînera également une hausse plus importante des prix globaux du gaz et de l'électricité, tout en réduisant le gaz et des subventions à la consommation d’électricité à des tarifs sociaux bien définis pour les personnes défavorisées.

Rôle du gouvernement

Décrivez le rôle du gouvernement dans la propriété et le développement des ressources énergétiques. Décrire la politique énergétique actuelle.

Les États fédéraux et provinciaux ont le domaine notable (et perçoivent des redevances plafonnées légalement sur les hydrocarbures produits) du sous-sol et de leurs ressources sur leurs territoires respectifs. La législation fédérale établit le cadre juridique pour le pétrole et le gaz en amont, intermédiaire et en aval, ainsi que pour l’électricité, en raison de ses nombreuses questions intergouvernementales. Le cadre juridique traditionnel dans lequel la croissance énergétique des années 1990 était assurée par la déréglementation (et la privatisation d’entités précédemment gérées par le gouvernement) et les politiques axées sur le marché devrait être de nouveau appliqué, en démantelant le dédale de la réglementation des années 2000 ayant créé des marchés captifs , segmentation de la demande, plafonnement des prix et subventions pour compenser la stagnation du secteur de l’énergie qui en résulte. Ces réglementations ont défiguré le cadre juridique qu'elles étaient censées mettre en œuvre. La voie tracée par le gouvernement actuel (en fixant la voie à la hausse des prix du gaz naturel au cours des prochaines années pour atteindre les prix de parité à l'importation) a été définie, bien que certaines des solutions décrites ci-dessus soient prises à titre provisoire contrairement aux mesures à long terme. plans de gamme qui permettraient à l'industrie pétrolière et gazière de prévoir un retour complet aux politiques de marché ouvert. Une réduction sélective des lourdes taxes imposées indirectement sur le pétrole (en faisant baisser les prix de l’essence) et la production de gaz est nécessaire, afin de favoriser les investissements dans l’exploration et la production de pétrole et de gaz non conventionnels, en tant que substitut plus stable des régimes gaziers et du pétrole brut. «accord» pétrolier, a maintenant été laissé de côté. L'effet d'amortissement déroutant sur les tarifs de la fourniture subventionnée de gaz naturel importé (plus de 25% de l'offre globale) subventionnée par le gouvernement à des prix inférieurs aux coûts modifie les signaux du marché avec une énergie bon marché, stimulant la consommation et un manque d'efficacité. L'augmentation progressive des prix décrite ci-dessus n'est pas suffisante pour envisager une forte augmentation des investissements dans le secteur, ce qui devrait être fait sur la base d'une prévision de règles stables. Pour plus d'informations sur le secteur du gaz et ses interactions avec le secteur de l'électricité, voir «Énergie électrique en Argentine: diagnostic de la distorsion de la réglementation, du déficit d'investissement et d'une proposition de développement durable» par Luis A Erize, dans Revue Argentine du Parlement, Hidrocarburos y Minería, n ° 7, pages 285-330. Le labyrinthe de prix du gaz imposé par l'ensemble des réglementations dont l'Argentine est en train de se débarrasser peut être revisité dans «Changements de domaines et de réglementations éminents» de Luis Erize dans Property and the Law en matière d'énergie et de ressources naturelles, Oxford University Press. L’interaction entre les deux marchés a longtemps été étudiée, comme le montre la «Proposition d’addendum au cadre réglementaire du secteur électrique argentin» de Badaraco et al, préparée pour être soumise au premier congrès latino-américain et caribéen de la Gaz et électricité, organisé par l’Institut argentin du pétrole et du gaz, l’American Gas Association et la Society of Petroleum Engineers (1997). Dans ce document, l’interaction entre les deux marchés est analysée et la proposition vise à montrer qu’une approche globale est nécessaire sur les deux, fermant ainsi le cercle entre deux cadres juridiques entièrement distincts, pour le gaz naturel et l’énergie électrique.

Le décret 1277/12, cadre général qui va bien au-delà de la loi déclarant l'expropriation du contrôle de YPF, a été définitivement abandonné. Ce décret visait à réglementer toutes les étapes de l’exploration et de l’exploitation des hydrocarbures ainsi que toutes les autres activités en aval, à imposer des plans d’investissement obligatoires aux titulaires de concessions d’exploitation, à garantir la divulgation complète des coûts et des prix, ainsi que d’autres restrictions contraires aux lois en vigueur. (entre autres, le non-respect des décrets en vertu desquels les concessions existantes ont été accordées antérieurement). Le gouvernement de 2015 s'est donc plutôt engagé à adopter une politique de retour au cadre juridique initial.

Il reste à voir si les efforts importants déployés par le gouvernement fédéral et confirmés aux élections législatives de mi-mandat rétabliront les signaux du marché pour attirer les investissements nécessaires, notamment en: démantelant la segmentation des prix du gaz naturel et des prix de production d'électricité (et pas simplement en augmentant progressivement les prix et les tarifs de l’énergie), ainsi que les plafonds de prix implicites ou exprès; tout en construisant un marché pour les contrats à moyen et long terme (tant pour l'électricité que pour le gaz naturel), permettant de répercuter les coûts qui en résultent et d'éliminer les comportements opportunistes, les marchés au comptant se limiteraient aux achats (de leurs engagements de fourniture). dans le cadre de leurs contrats à terme) par des fournisseurs non performants afin de remédier à ce manque à gagner par de tels achats au comptant à d’autres producteurs.

L'ancien gouvernement avait l'habitude de prendre des résolutions dépassant les pouvoirs et d'obliger l'industrie pétrolière à conclure des accords avec elle, ce qui lui causait des pertes. Le gouvernement actuel a procédé à une augmentation progressive des prix et des tarifs en amont du gaz naturel pour corriger cela, mais au lieu de laisser de côté l'ancienne politique de contrôle et de procéder à une transition claire vers les pratiques de marché ouvert énoncées dans la loi sur le gaz, il a invoqué avec confusion les règlements antérieurs. comme source d'autorité. La doctrine qui découle de la décision de la Cour suprême fédérale rendue en septembre 2016 et qui a provisoirement suspendu la hausse des tarifs et des prix est la suivante: tant que le cadre juridique exige des principes de marché ouvert, le gouvernement devrait adopter des réglementations qui les respectent, au moins comme objectif pour l'avenir. . Il devrait définir des mesures claires pour parvenir à ce passage, en évitant les mesures provisoires fixant ces niveaux au jour le jour.

L'actuelle loi 27007 sur les hydrocarbures, qui prévoit des extensions de concessions d'exploitation, des plafonds imposés aux gouvernements et des promesses d'uniformisation de leurs termes, devrait s'accompagner d'un marché transparent pour les exploitants agricoles qui sera à la base de la renaissance des nouveaux investissements, notamment en raison de la position dominante de YPF en ce qui concerne les ressources en schiste.

Droit commercial / civil – droit matériel

Règles et normes de l'industrie

Décrivez tout contrat type standard utilisé dans le secteur de l’énergie dans votre juridiction.

Dans l’industrie pétrolière et gazière en amont, un ensemble d’accords typique est applicable, à commencer par les accords d’exploitation communs (OA), pour lesquels le choix est vaste, car les modèles AIPN sont en concurrence avec AAPL, CAPL, AIPN (et la version australienne). , OGUK, etc.) qui coexistent en Argentine avec sa version locale (Unión Transitoria), en tant qu’accord non associé et non constitué en société, devant être enregistré dans le Registre public du commerce, mis à jour en vertu du nouveau Code de droit civil et commercial entré en vigueur récemment. Obliger. Les concessions d’exploitation étendues sont toujours exploitées avec des JOA, tels qu’ils étaient utilisés initialement dans les années 1990, conformément au modèle AIPN de cette époque (et dans de nombreux cas, avec l’incorporation partielle de formules incomplètes pour traiter, par exemple, les droits de premier refus, l’équilibrage, etc., source de conflits continus), et éventuellement, demander un transfert financier ou économique du titulaire du titre ou un prix négocié, et éventuellement offrir une participation au titre ainsi qu’avec des dispositions éventuelles en matière de risque unique. Alternativement, des contrats de partage de production ou de services peuvent être conclus avec le titulaire de la concession, en combinaison avec un report. Farm-in agreements do and will play a significant role in participating in existing exploitation concessions and those to be extended, the holder of title to the concessions being

  • the other party, YPF;
  • the provincial entities that have emulated YPF’s role under the redistribution of jurisdiction and eminent domain of the subsurface hydrocarbons to the provinces, even under the stricter terms imposed by the current Hydrocarbons Law 27007; et
  • private oil companies.

As regards the oil services industry, the current international versions for seismics, drilling, workovers, etc, are adapted to local constraints that have to do with the market rigidities regarding labour and resulting lack of flexibility (the current lack of investments has given way to significant reforms of the collective bargaining agreements with the oil industry unions, to allow for the overall labour cost reductions, first in the Neuquén Basin Area, focused on shale exploration and exploitation, and then to other basins).

Natural gas term supply agreements are influenced by the many interferences of the regulated market and to a categorisation of each of them as per the source and even the historic layer to which they corresponded (in recent years, the government authority had established a priority of natural gas dispatch by each shipper, and exempted from such restrictions those supply contracts with incremental gas – exceeding a certain threshold, or of a non-conventional source – a source for disputes resulting from such restrictions and priority assignment). A wide dispersion of gas supply agreements followed, with numerous amendments to previously made gas supply agreements, and supply to CAMMESA, to deliver such natural gas to thermal power plants in its name. Power term supply agreements between generators and large customers were banned in 2013 (Resolution SE 95/13), and must now be entered into exclusively with the dispatch centre, CAMMESA (the power dispatch centre and broker between supply and demand for power, described below), and for gas to be delivered to thermal power plants out of bid calls from gas producers (starting for the summer supply, an easy task given the seasonal abundance of supply) together with supply from Bolivia and LNG imports re gas, at subsidised, lower than import, prices.

CAMMESA was originally designated by law to broker the supply and demand of power, arbitrating between spot prices paid to power generators and seasonal tariffs paid by distributors, with the balancing contribution of a self-adjusted but now extinct (because of the tariffs freeze) compensation fund. CAMMESA receives subsidies and imported gas from the government for supply to thermoelectric generators so that the latter are able to meet demand. This role of CAMMESA is further strengthened by making it the purchaser agent of long-term renewable energy contracts under the Renovar plan, for new gas-fired power projects voiced the second quarter of 2016 and beyond, and as the counterpart for the new integrated projects it has invited interested parties to present. All these programmes make CAMMESA the monopolistic purchase agent that will have to pass such energy acquisition costs to distributors and large customers, in an as-yet undefined energy matrix that will instead have to respect open market practices to gain the economic equilibrium of aggregate supply and demand.

The regulations that have accumulated over the years are now being changed to eliminate the burden of energy-related price distortions. This should, however, provide a new opportunity to develop state-of-the-art, standard-term agreements for both gas and power supply, as the reconstruction of the energy balance will require open-season bidding for firms to supply long-term commitments at posted prices in order to obtain investments to cover the current gap (which until now has been filled by imported natural gas supplied at a loss by the government) and restrictions on gas and power demand. Such term contracts system should supply the aggregate demand of distributors, and additionally should be used for medium-term contract supply to large customers, eventually traded in a term contract trade market.

Natural gas shipping agreements and power supply transmission agreements are of a more standard nature, though open access should be ensured to enable the grid’s future expansion. This expansion will give new opportunities to sign contracts with third parties to make enhancements and ancillary extensions in order to optimise the current network of pipelines, gas distribution and power transmission. As seen in question 1, the to-date open question on markets to be mainly driven by term contracts, in both gas and power, is being analysed, but both the transition path and the final legal framework are pending. As for pipelines to be built for shipment of shale hydrocarbons, Decree 589/17 has extended the exclusionary rule of pipelines built by hydrocarbons concession holders (freeing them from the regulated framework of the gas pipelines licensees), to agreements to be reached by groups of producers with gas transportation licences for the expansion of the pipelines network at freely agreed prices and economic arrangements between them.

What rules govern contractual interpretation in (non-consumer) contracts in general? Do these rules apply to energy contracts?

The new Civil and Commercial Law Code has updated the general guidelines for the interpretation of contracts:

  • article 1,061: the common intention of the parties and the principle of good faith (the rather novel distinction of a traditional subject, now made express, is clear support to such principle as a supplementary requirement to be considered when interpreting the contract’s language and the performance of a contract party);
  • article 1,063: the precise meaning of the words employed, as per their usual meaning;
  • articles 1,064/5: the circumstances and preliminary negotiations, the behaviour of the parties before and after the agreement;
  • article 1,066: the useful effects interpretation principle; et
  • article 1,067: ensuring trust and loyal behaviour.

Describe any commonly recognised industry standards for establishing liability.

In Argentina, it would be difficult to identify whether there is a fiduciary duty obligation of the operator towards the other contract parties. It is, however, subject to a general duty of care, of common reliance, and of loyalty (the above-mentioned new Code establishes this duty for administrators in general – article 159). The conduct must at least be negligent to be subject to compensation for damages (article 160). As per article 1,743, an anticipated waiver is not valid if it is against good faith or if there is a deliberate attempt to cause prejudice to the other party (article 1,743).

In general, the parties under their agreements can establish limitations to otherwise liability standards which could make them liable to the other parties, by exempting negligence to the extent no gross negligence is excluded, as it is deemed to be similar to wilful behaviour and hence not waivable. Knock-for-knock clauses can be set forth to delineate the effects of each party’s defaults or assumption of risks. Good practice should carefully forecast the effects of regulatory changes in the economic equilibrium of the parties, especially in areas prone to be hit by such changes, such as supply agreements (both international – as could be the case for the renaissance of international export gas supply agreements and their limitations – and domestic, transportation and transmission (ie, dispatch regulations altering existing shipping agreements, interruptible or non-interruptible conditions, third-party access rules, effect of offtake agreements altered by market regulations, declaration of emergency and urgency measures by the government, etc)). The general question of who is to blame for the allocation of risks is of paramount importance, as well as definitions regarding these events, extraordinary circumstances, the dividing lines between direct and indirect, and consequential damages, and rules for guidance in case of conflicts with the regulatory agencies or government whenever a joint venture is affected (taxation matters, royalty determination, environmental standards and litigation, supply duties or price caps imposed through new laws, access restrictions, etc). Mitigation duties are also essential, and are seldom considered as a part of the contractual duties between parties of the variety of contracts and associations. These aspects should be addressed in detail.

Performance mitigation

Are concepts of force majeure, commercial impracticability or frustration, or other concepts that would excuse performance during periods of commodity price or supply volatility, recognised in your jurisdiction?

The definition of force majeure resulted from reference to sections 513 and 514 of the Civil Law Code of Argentina (now article 1,730 of the Civil and Commercial Law Code), together with events that may be captured by a contractual definition.

According to common law, ‘force majeure’ means any event or circumstance (other than financial inability to perform) that is beyond the reasonable control of the party claiming force majeure. The circle of events labelled as force majeure under common law coexist with the concept of force majeure stemming from the Civil and Commercial Law Code provision, also identified as an unforeseeable event, and will rule either expressly or by default (if there is no clause to the contrary, as the parties may shift the burden of such events between them) in any contract.

Under this section, both unforeseeable events and force majeure concepts are considered jointly. The other Civil and Commercial Law Code provisions refer to both concepts as if they were one, by using the terms interchangeably.

The doctrine does not fully agree on the differences between one and the other case, the majority considering that one addresses unforeseen circumstances, while the other concept addresses the impossibility of avoiding such events that do not allow the performance under the contract.

The effect of such force majeure is expressed under section 1,732 of the Civil and Commercial Law Code, whereby the debtor will not be liable for damages and interests caused to the creditor because of lack of performance of the obligation, when these result from an objective and absolute impossibility, not attributable to the obliged party, unless (article 1,733) the debtor would have committed performance regardless of such force majeure or, if this event would have occurred because of its fault or would have occurred when already in default, if this default had not been motivated by such fortuitous event or force majeure.

Doctrine and court precedents do not agree on the events that can be classified as force majeure, and several sections across the former Civil Law Code and Commercial Law Code did make reference, in specific contracts, to it by defining some of the consequences of a particular application of such concept. To clarify the concept, the doctrine refers to comparative law, and thus includes: acts of God, similar to those defined under English law precedents; acts of the enemy, such as war and blockade; and sovereign acts, meaning a governmental resolution prohibiting, for example, foreign trade.

It is less clear whether the doctrine and court precedents support the idea that, in order for the concept to apply, extraordinary diligence should have been applied by the party claiming force majeure.

In general, it can be said that some elements have been identified as requirements under Argentine law for force majeure. The event in question must:

  • have been unforeseeable, taking into account the nature of the expected performance, the parties’ intentions (representations) and relevant circumstances;
  • be irresistible, which means a total, unexpected impossibility of reasonable performance, either by action of law or of the facts that have occurred;
  • be insurmountable and currently occurring, therefore excluding potential facts; et
  • be ‘exterior’, which means that it must not be connected in any way with the party claiming force majeure.

In the many court precedents that refer to this concept, the case-by-case approach has been preferred, allowing for different rulings, depending on the set of circumstances under judgment. One of the regular matters for disagreement is if the impossibility or irresistibility of the force majeure case has to be ‘absolute’ rather than ‘relative’, barring any possibility of performing, excluding the application of force majeure if the performance could have been achieved by extraordinary means and costs. Court precedents have instead used the concept of unforeseability of extraordinary circumstances, which have substantially changed the economic equation of the contract (a matter that has been largely addressed during periods of hyperinflation in Argentina, or substantial exchange devaluations, pegged with rigid exchange controls, if the price was quoted in, or adjusted by, foreign currency).

In general, it is requested that the set of circumstances be such as to be easily evidenced as constituting a notorious event.

As regards the concept of a fact ‘exterior to’ a non-performing party, it requires an absolute lack of connection with the latter in order to qualify. For example, it has been considered that a strike restricted to the personnel of the non-performing party cannot be an excuse, while a general strike or a revolutionary strike does qualify for such an excuse.

A shortage of supplies necessary to perform the obligation committed has also been considered as not qualifying, as has an extraordinary increase in costs (except for the theory of unforeseeability, under section 1,198 of the Civil Law Code) with respect to the effects of sudden devaluation and hyperinflation, allowing the contract to be terminated. This theory was voiced in any case in which a fixed price has been destroyed by sudden hyperinflation or extreme devaluation. Article 1,091 of the Civil and Commercial Law Code rules the matter in a similar way, but now expressly grants the right to request a court’s adjustment of the contract’s balance.

With the agreement of the other party, instead of a termination the court may adjust such price.

In general, war or civil war, acts of God resulting from nature such as a tornado or an earthquake, and sovereign acts have been accepted. Article 1,091 allows the party invoking such unforeseeability to request an adjustment.

Instead, floods, extraordinary rain and extreme winds have or have not been accepted according to whether the parties can foresee such occurrences with due consideration for past statistics. Fire is generally accepted as a reason when it is started outside the premises, and when due diligence was applied in establishing preventive measures before the fact. However, if the fire originated in the premises of the non-performing party, it is generally not accepted as force majeure.

Several court precedents have established that, in principle, fire is not an unforeseeable event, unless special circumstances exist.

As it is assumed that lack of performance in a contract is by itself evidence of the non-performing party’s guilt, the party calling for force majeure has the burden to prove its occurrence and its qualification as such.

Setting aside the theory of unforeseability that has allowed the revision of contracts regarding pricing, or its termination when there is a promise by one of the parties to deliver a product or a property at a posted price, always related to episodes of hyperinflation or extreme devaluation, the court precedents in Argentina have been very strict about allowing events to be considered as force majeure.

In the case of natural gas supply, the issue to consider is whether the restriction of international supply has been imposed on the seller by the authorities and new regulations, or if it is a result of the general natural gas supply agreement signed by the government with an aggregate of the majority of natural gas producers of 2004, more likely a kind of a forced choice (see the Compañía de Aguas del Aconquija SA and Vivendi SA v Argentine Republic case discussed below), given the threat under which consent was to be given, or else face the discrimination against the non-signing parties, redirecting their natural gas to local consumers at prices considerably lower than the price admitted for the other suppliers that would have signed the general agreement.

In Compañía de Aguas del Aconquija SA and Vivendi SA v Argentine Republic (ICSID Case No. ARB/97/3) award of 20 August 2007, where we were the co-counsel for the claimants, Argentina was found to have expropriated a water services concession through regulatory taking. The arbitrators determined that renegotiating in a transparent, non-coercive manner is appropriate, but it is wrong (and unfair and inequitable in terms of the relevant bilateral investment treaty (BIT)) to bring a concessionaire to the renegotiation table through threats of rescission (paragraph 7.4.31, p. 215 of the award). The Total SA v Argentina case demonstrates the lack of choice when the Acuerdo de Gas proposal of 2007 was completed by forcing those that would not sign it to have their natural gas output diverted from their contracted destination, and delivered instead to other consumers at substantially lower prices to satisfy local aggregate demand, thus relieving the signatories from having to supply at lower prices.

The Secretariat of Energy set up a general agreement with natural gas producers that had committed a certain level of supply to the domestic market under a gradual price increase path, to instead divert the supplies intended for export to the domestic market consumers or, if not sufficient, to further force supply to domestic consumers that would not have reached a supply agreement. Given such experience, it is advisable to define these events and other governmentally imposed restrictions in new gas supply agreements, determine which party is to bear such risk, and their consequences. The contractual provisions should thus consider the end of hardship, the reduction of the restrictions, the sharing of the economic effect of the alternative benefits the natural gas producers might obtain in the case of a later increase in domestic prices, levelling them with international prices, with the idea of sharing losses and negotiations to mitigate the damage caused, or of the profits from a later upswing in the economic situation.

How government interference with the international gas supply agreements would be interpreted by international arbitrators is case-dependent, and results primarily from the wording in the agreements for such events, as well as the applicable law, and the arbitrators may have to review and decide on the effects of public policy in the duties assumed by the parties.

The new Civil and Commercial Law Code has set forth in section 1,011 that in the case of long-term contracts, a special duty of cooperation must be observed, with respect to the reciprocal commitments, by giving the chance to the other party to renegotiate the same in good faith.

One of the most significant arbitration cases in recent times, besides the cases for international treaty arbitration addressed by me in the sister publication of the Getting the Deal Through series, Investment Treaty Arbitration, 2017 and 2019, is the CCI No. 1632/JRF/CA YPF v AESU & TGM (2016, continued in 2017). As informed by YPF to the Stock Exchange, the arbitral award imposed a significant amount as damages compensation for liability implied by an anticipated termination of export gas supply and in relation to a delivery or pay provision, and for anticipated termination of a gas transportation contract. The case has been commented on by Diego Fernández Arroyo in Arbitration International 2017,0,1-28, and court resolutions can additionally be found online. Therefore, the information from the facts involved can be discussed. Nullification requests by different parties involved in the multi-party arbitration were filed in two different countries, the courts of Uruguay and Argentina, with conflicting views (in the case of YPF v AES Uruguaiana, 15 Oct 2014, mandating the suspension of the arbitral procedure, and considering the court had jurisdiction on the annulment appeal as it was so empowered by the relevant arbitration clause). The case involved a gas-by-wire scheme ending up with a power supply agreement to Brazil under a grid of related contracts starting in Argentina with the export gas supply and shipping and transport contracts to Uruguay as delivery point, for gas firing a power plant in that country to sell power to Brazilian utilities. The case is a good example to address the current subject of FM, frustration and government regulatory changes stopping short of prohibitions, because the issue was, following said publication, related to the two-step restrictions on gas exports by means of removal of export permits or the imposition of absurd export withholdings with the effect of more than doubling the market price. The description of the facts adds the condiment of an anticipatory breach and, with respect to arbitration clauses, separate choice of law provisions for annulment litigation. The cross claims were addressed by means of a voluntary consolidation in a single multiparty, bifurcated (splitting liability and quantum phases), arbitration under ICC rules, and diverging arbitral awards annulment court procedures (based on conflicting views on lex arbitri, the law governing the arbitration procedure itself) in Uruguay and Argentina.

Showing that fiction anticipates reality, the case is strikingly similar to the moot arbitration case prepared by this author for a session in the IBA Annual Conference in Dubai, in 2011, in which the study of a hypothetical interruption of power supply from country B to country C owing to a feedstock agreement (natural gas supply) interruption by a natural gas supplier from country A (the A,B, C countries have become, in the real case, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil) was proposed. In the moot arbitration, the gas supplier was invoking FM, caused by country A, considering in addition that it was a source of international liability of the country causing the regulatory changes. Some of the questions referred to in Dubai were: what would the effect be of FM defences in the ICC arbitration or litigation due to country A’s actions; if the rejection of FM excuses by the gas supplier bore consequences on the defence by the power producer in the power supply interruption claims (and on ancillary transport agreements), and the effects of cross arbitration with an ICSID case for the government interferences with the legitimate expectations of the foreign investors. The temptation exists to add a subtitle as used in films: ‘any relation to reality is mere coincidence.’

Nuisance

What are the rules on claims of nuisance to obstruct energy development? May operators be subject to nuisance and negligence claims from third parties?

The principal obstacles for the operation of fields under granted exploitation concessions do not derive from the owners of the property where the exploitation occurs, as by law they have to admit such activities to be performed by the exploitation concession holder, limiting themselves to receiving a statutory compensation for the nuisances provoked, and eventually claiming for proven damages if such compensation does not suffice.

The main obstacles result from claims related to the environment involving claims of aquifers’ pollution (largely unproven), the remediation of open pools, etc. There is a significant caseload of claims pretending to request either restitution of the soil conditions, or damage compensation to adjacent surface owners or villagers (though such exploitation is generally made in scarcely populated areas, a fact that minimises the impact).

Liability and limitations

How may parties limit remedies by agreement?

The predetermination of damages estimate and the setting forth of caps or liquidated damages’ lump sums is admissible to the extent they do not make the party acting with gross negligence substantially exempt from the consequences of the same, as a party may not be exempted from performing what it had committed to do, by giving it the chance to deliberately omit its duty of care, or acting with gross negligence that could be assimilated to such deliberate omission.

Each time more caution has to be considered in farm-in agreements, in agreements for an adequate carve out of environmental risks arising from the past, allotting liability for farmers on non-disclosed contingencies, to attempt to solve issues that are well known in other countries.

Is strict liability applicable for damage resulting from any activities in the energy sector?

Yes, strict liability is applicable in the case of contractual liability for lack of performance, to the extent that damage is a consequence of a performance default, or in the case of tort liability.

The oil and gas industry is considered a risky sector, whereby a rule of balance of risks and benefits is implied to conclude that full compensation is due unless the event causing the damage was caused by the victim itself or by a third party for which it is not answerable.

Commercial/civil law – procedural

Mise en vigueur

How do courts in your jurisdiction resolve competing clauses in multiple contracts relating to a single transaction, lease, licence or concession, with respect to choice of forum, choice of law or mode of dispute resolution?

The 2015 enacted Civil and Commercial Law Code considers the case of a contracts’ network under sections 1,073/5, by which direct claims from subcontractors to the main contractor and the owner of the works are admitted (section 1,071), and from the latter against the former, reciprocally (section 1,072). Consolidation of arbitral claims is admissible to the extent consent by the relevant parties is granted, at the time the agreement is made or later on.

Parallel proceedings can occur, and we have been acting in one case regarding an oil and gas producer involving, for the same series of events, separate US court proceedings (in Texas and New York), international arbitration, local exequatur court proceedings, local anti-suit injunction court procedures and Chapter 11 collective court proceedings. Argentinian courts and legislation are hospitable to international commercial arbitration, and their rulings are regularly applied and enforced unless there is a jurisdictional issue at stake. Resignation of appeal remedies is admissible, while requests for annulment cannot be waived beforehand. When several parties are involved, multiparty arbitration may only result from consent stemming from the agreements themselves, while in court litigation a complex set of rules is applicable for extending claims to third parties, and for notification of the litigation to later extend the effects of the award to the same, or for voluntary participation of such third parties when a common interest is present.

Consolidation of arbitration with non-signatories is a much-discussed issue. In Argentina, the issue has been raised for the opposite purpose, as defence for lack of jurisdiction (the Argentine National Commercial Court of Appeals holds that a third-party guarantor may invoke an arbitration clause, 2 March 2011). In a decision rendered on 19 October 2010 and published on 10 February 2011, the National Commercial Court of Appeals, chamber C, seated in the city of Buenos Aires, confirmed that a guarantor could invoke and benefit from the negative effect of an arbitration agreement even though the guarantor is not a party to the underlying contract.

In Cemaedu SA y otro v Envases EP SA y otro s/ ordinario, the Circuit Court dismissed a claim filed against the guarantor of a stock purchase agreement, holding that it lacked jurisdiction because the stock purchase agreement included a binding arbitration agreement. The claimant appealed the decision, arguing that the arbitration agreement was only binding upon the parties to the contract. The National Commercial Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the Circuit Court, confirming that a contract in which the parties agree to submit every dispute concerning ‘the contract, its existence, validity, qualification, interpretation, scope, performance or termination’ to arbitration had to be construed in the broadest terms possible. Furthermore, the court held that, under the Argentine Civil Code, where a guarantor undertakes an obligation equal to the one taken by the secured party, unless the parties agree otherwise, the guarantor may exercise every right of the secured party by virtue of statutory subrogation, including the right to settle the dispute through arbitration. The decision in this case is particularly important because it extends the terms of arbitration clauses to non-signatory parties on the basis of the statutory subrogation rules set out in the Argentine Civil Law Code, and now reaffirmed through the Civil and Commercial Law Code in force as from 2014.

Are stepped and split dispute clauses common? Are they enforceable under the law of your jurisdiction?

Two-tier dispute clauses are generally adopted in construction cases, and less so in oil and gas supply or transportation agreements. In a long-term agreement, the virtues of avoiding an escalation of the conflict, and using a negotiation process to isolate the conflict, are recognised. Dispute resolution boards are not as common. The theory underlying arbitration clauses considers an agreement for arbitration as a contract, giving such arbitral awards the effect of an undisputed contract. As per section 1,656 of the new Civil and Commercial Law Code, arbitration clauses must be respected by the parties that agreed to it, as well as by the courts, and the arbitral awards as well, provided there are no causes for nullification (such review may not be waived in advance, unlike the appeal, which may have been waived in such clause) and the award is not contrary to the legal order as a whole (a notion that may be assimilated by public policy or basic principles set forth in the National Constitution, and that may also be stretched to consider imperative, non-waivable provisions in the laws generally).

How is expert evidence used in your courts? What are the rules on engagement and use of experts?

Evidence production is ordered by the courts at the request of the parties in the dispute, provided it has a close connection to the disputed facts and is considered by the court to be relevant to the issuance of an award on such matters. Among the different means proposed by any of the parties, experts with the necessary expertise on the matter can be called to report on the various areas in conflict. These are generally chosen by the court from lists of registered experts, and each of the parties may designate their own consultant to follow the investigation of facts by the court-appointed expert. Technical experts range from economists, engineers, geologists, public accountants and others, and in some cases include a specialist in the regulations of the relevant sector. In the case of arbitration, it is more common to see expert witnesses proposed by each of the parties, in which case arbitrators may use any of the techniques admissible in international arbitration for debate between such experts.

What interim and emergency relief may a court in your jurisdiction grant for energy disputes?

Under Argentine law, precautionary measures are those preliminary remedies granted by the court at the commencement of the proceedings or thereafter in order to ensure that the judgment to be entered in the case will not be frustrated. Therefore, precautionary measures pursue a preventive role by making sure that the subject matter of the proceedings is not damaged while the proceedings are being conducted. By carrying out the precautionary measures, the courts are also fulfilling the purpose of the judicial proceeding, which is to fairly decide a specific dispute by means of a judgment capable of producing practical results.

The requirements of the most important precautionary measures under Argentine law in accordance with the Federal Civil and Commercial Procedure Code are described below.

Les caractéristiques

All precautionary measures under Argentine law are characterised for the following features:

  • They are ancillary to the proceedings. They are granted considering that the rights of the parties will be finally determined during the proceedings conducted observing the forms required by due process.
  • They are issued without giving notice and requesting the appearance of the other party (inaudita parte, ex parte proceeding) because otherwise the purpose thereof may be frustrated.
  • The judge’s jurisdictional determination of whether the requirements of these measures have been satisfied is conducted by means of a summary proceeding that focuses on the appearance of right, not on its certainty.
  • They are provisional in nature, because they will be effective only as long as the facts upon which they were based continue to exist.
  • They are changeable and flexible. In order to avoid unnecessary damage or encumbrance to the owner of the goods being attached, the owner may at all times offer to substitute the attached goods with new ones. They are flexible because the creditor may request the augmentation of the scope of the measure, its amendment or to extend such measure to other goods.
  • They do not produce res judicata effects, nor, if denied, preclude the party from requesting the same measure again in the future before the same judge, nor should they directly affect the substance of the claims being decided in the main proceedings.
  • They are urgent.

Conditions

In order for the judge to issue a precautionary measure under Argentine law, the following three requirements or conditions precedent must be satisfied.

Appearance of truth of petitioner’s right

The petitioner must demonstrate that he or she is the holder of a ‘credible right’ (ie, that he or she is prima facie entitled to the remedy being claimed). This is largely the equivalent of showing that the petitioner is likely to succeed on the merits.

Danger that harm may result from the delay

The petitioner must show that, unless the measure is granted, there would be a danger that a harm to or a frustration of remedy may result during the pendency of the proceedings. It is enough to show that there is a possibility of danger. Danger resulting from the delay arises where the petitioner has a genuine motive to be afraid that he or she will suffer imminent and irreparable harm. Obviously, invoking the sole duration of the proceedings is not enough to satisfy this requirement. This condition has been liberally construed by the courts.

Posting of bond

Because precautionary measures are issued ex parte, without the appearance of the other party, the judge must determine the type of bond and its amount. The bond is set as a security for the petitioner’s liability for damages caused to the other party by a precautionary measure that should not have been issued. The bond may be any of the following:

  • an ‘oath bond’, which consists of a promise under oath to pay any damages cased by the measure;
  • a personal bond, consisting of the bond posted by a bank, surety or a person with sufficient wealth; et
  • a real estate or personal property bond. The other party may always object to the type or sufficiency of the bond posted by the petitioner.

There have been ICSID cases where the issue on preventive measures has been addressed. In Teinver SA, Transportes de Cercanías SA and Autobuses Urbanos del Sur SA (claimants) and The Argentine Republic (respondent) (ICSID Case No. ARB/09/1), Decision On Provisional Measures (8 April 2016), it was:

(a) ordered that Respondent refrain from publicising the Complaints or the criminal investigation and any relation they may have to this arbitration, whether by communications to the press or otherwise; (b) it deferred its decision in respect of Claimants’ Application for Provisional Measures as it relates to the suspension of the criminal proceedings in regard of counsel for Claimants and Claimants’ court-appointed receivers, with liberty to Claimants to bring this Application back before the Tribunal in this respect should it become necessary; (c) reminded the Parties that they are obligated to refrain from aggravating the dispute; and (d) denied the remaining aspects of Claimants’ Application for Provisional Measures.

What is the enforcement process for foreign judgments and foreign arbitral awards in energy disputes in your jurisdiction?

Section 1 of the Code of Civil and Commercial Procedure admits the extension of jurisdiction to foreign judges and arbitrators in international matters, which are defined by identifying foreign connection items: the different nationality of the co-contracting parties, the existence of an international trademark, the reference to a local and international market, in which case the foreign award, to be acknowledged and enforced in Argentina, shall be subject to an exequatur process (section 519, Code of Civil and Commercial Procedure) or summary proceeding in which the judge considers whether the rules of due process have not been violated and whether a public policy regulation has not been infringed by means of it.

Regarding the procedure to enforce foreign judgments and arbitral awards in Argentina, if no special treaty applies, an exequatur process has to be followed, where the Argentina-competent judge will examine the foreign judicial order to review if it complies with the requirements set forth in the National Civil Procedural Law Code, mainly consisting of due process of law and public policy requirements. Section 517, subsection 1 provides that the foreign judgment must be issued by a court with appropriate jurisdiction over the case. Such jurisdiction is to be determined under the Argentine rules on international jurisdiction of the courts. Likewise, it requires that the foreign judgment has the authority of res judicata, which should be analysed under the rules in force in the state in which the foreign judgment was issued. This is shown by means of a statement to be included in the foreign judgment itself or in a court certificate or any other acts showing that the foreign judgment has such authority (section 528). Section 517, subsection 2 requires that the party against whom enforcement is sought has received a personal summons of process, and that due process has been respected.

Section 517, subsection 3 sets forth that the judgment must meet all necessary requirements to be considered as such in the place where it had been issued and that it is authentic pursuant to the provisions of Argentine law. This item is shown pursuant to the provisions of the judgment itself, by the corresponding consular report, and in accordance with the rules in force in Argentina.

Section 517, subsection 4 requires that the foreign judgment does not affect public policy rules under Argentine law. That is to say, the court must examine whether the foreign judgment affects principles set forth under the Argentine Constitution, international treaties with constitutional hierarchy and the respective procedural laws.

Finally, under section 517, subsection 5, if there is another judgment by an Argentine court affecting the same parties and regarding the same subject matter that has the authority of res judicata, the enforcement of a foreign judgment in Argentina becomes inadmissible. Once the exequatur proceeding has a final judgment (so that the foreign award is assimilated by a local ruling), the enforcement procedure (basically for the seizure or attachment of goods or property) may commence. Once the exequatur process is successfully approved, the foreign decision is equivalent to a local decision.

Interim or precautionary measures are flexible and may adopt many methods (from the classical attachment or embargo, court-appointed observers or interventors, to the more sophisticated of prohibition to innovate or change the status quo, and in some extreme cases can be similar to antisuit injunctions).

In Argentina the Federal Court of Appeals on Contentious-Administrative Matters, Panel IV, upheld a precautionary measure requested by the Argentine government. It suspended arbitration until the challenge of an arbitrator was judged. The International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) had rejected the challenge, and this rejection was contested with the local courts. In Argentine Republic v International Chamber of Commerce, Cámara Nacional de Apelaciones en lo Contencioso Administrativo Federal, 3 July 2007, a stay of proceedings was ordered under the UNCITRAL Rules, but administered by ICSID, pending a decision on a request to annul an ICC decision rejecting Argentina’s challenge of one of the arbitrators.

In EN-Procuración del Tesoro v International Chamber of Commerce, the Federal Contentious Administrative Law Appeals Court, panel IV (17 July 2008) ordered the suspension of the arbitral procedure, pending the challenge of one of the arbitrators by the Argentine Republic (on the basis that the rejection of the challenge by the International Court of Arbitration, of the ICC, had not made the grounds for such decision public).

These cases were preceded by Entidad Binacional Yaciretá v Eriday et al (lower court judgment, in contentious administrative matters, 27 September 2004, where a sort of antisuit injunction was issued on account of a lack of agreement by the parties – the binational hydroelectric plant, and a construction company – to the terms of reference and the following procedural decisions).

In the 2007 National Grid decision, the Argentine National Court of Appeals annulled a decision of the International Chamber of Commerce. The latter had rejected Argentina’s challenge to the arbitral tribunal in the National Grid’s arbitration against Argentina. The Court of Appeals ordered the arbitral tribunal to suspend the proceedings. In 2008, a new interim measure followed. The Court of Appeals quoted Cartellone. The case has been settled.

It is important to determine the exact scope of admissible claims that arbitration may have competence to decide on, especially because the new Civil and Commercial Law Code states, in addition to the classical exclusion of non-arbitrable matters in section 1,651, that awards contrary to the juridical order may be set aside, and it could be that under such warning a renewal of discussions of whether arbitrators can have competence to decide on issues where public law review is involved, such as those where public policy law (ie, antitrust, fair competition, administrative law – see CNCom, panel C, 5 October 2010, CRI Holding Inc Sucursal Argentina v Compañía Argentina de Comodoro Rivadavia Explotación de Petróleo SA) and if they can exercise a constitutional law control is applicable.

Nullity has also been declared of an international arbitration award in EDF International SA v Endesa International (Spain), 12 December 2009, National Appeals Court in Commercial Matters (commented on by Julio César Rivera, La Ley, 1 December 2010), as it found it dealt with public policy law matters reserved for the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts and out of the scope of matters subject to waiver by the parties, and had resolved on the issue without applying the substantive applicable Argentine law.

Nullity of ICSID appointed tribunals awards regarding investment arbitration under BITs has been sought in foreign jurisdictions. In the United States District Court for the District Of Columbia, in Republic of Argentina, Petitioner v AWG Group Ltd, Respondent (30 September 2016), where the parties agreed that the case was governed by the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention), and which gave jurisdiction to such US court, Argentina’s petition to vacate the arbitral award was denied and AWG’s petition to confirm the award was granted, as ‘Argentina failed to demonstrate evident partiality and excess of powers’ by one of the members of the arbitral tribunal.

Alternative dispute resolution

Are there any arbitration institutions that specifically administer energy disputes in your jurisdiction?

The most-used arbitration forum selected to resolve energy disputes in Argentina is the one resulting from the International Court of Arbitration Rules. There are local arbitration centres as well, such as the Business Centre for Mediation and Arbitration, the Mediation and Arbitration Centre of the Argentine Chamber of Commerce, and the Arbitration Court of the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange (with permanent arbitrators), under their respective arbitration rules, but it cannot be said that they are specialists in energy disputes. The International Centre for Dispute Resolution (of the American Arbitration Association) has a list of specialised energy arbitrators. Section 1,657, CCC refers to arbitral institutions as suitable administrators of arbitration carried on under their respective rules, deemed incorporated in the arbitral agreement.

Is there any general preference for litigation over arbitration or vice versa in the energy sector in your jurisdiction?

Arbitration is almost always chosen in the energy sector. The complexity and specificity of the disputes thereof, which require arbitrators with experience in such fields, are the reason for this. Moreover, if the arbitration clause requires the arbitrators to be chosen by the parties as well as the chairman of the arbitrators tribunal, they must have experience in both energy and arbitration law. In the case of litigation in court, the reliance of the system on court-appointed experts previously listed and registered with the judiciary under broad incumbency qualifications is a significant obstacle to obtaining the necessary expertise and in-depth knowledge.

Are statements made in settlement discussions (including mediation) confidential, discoverable or without prejudice?

The rules under which the mediation or arbitration shall be carried out govern the issue of confidentiality, as far as the parties will have agreed. Professional secrecy duties apply, and a breach of the same may constitute a crime, provided certain elements are met. Argentine courts are generally hospitable to arbitral procedures, and furthermore section 1,656 of the new Civil and Commercial Law Code declares the lack of competence of the judiciary (the courts) on the disputes subject to arbitration as per arbitration clauses that are not blatantly null and void. However, if a motion for nullity of the arbitral award is filed by one of the parties, the files will be brought as evidence, which, besides their being reserved for the exclusive scrutiny of the court, will not preclude such court from knowing the same.

Privacy and privilege

Are there any data protection, trade secret or other privacy issues for the purposes of e-disclosure/e-discovery in a proceeding?

The general principle contained in Argentine Data Protection Law 25326 is that personal data may only be processed if the data owner has given his or her prior consent in writing. As an exception, consent is not necessary where such data is processed within the scope of a contractual or professional relationship with the data owner. According to the law, personal data must be processed fairly and lawfully, and collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes, of which the data owner must be informed.

E-discovery is seldom admitted by courts if requested to be practised on the opposing party’s premises and data centre (unless ordered by a criminal law court in the process of investigating a crime). This naturally does not extend to the accounting files (annotations in commercial books or electronic files requested by law, generally, and their supporting documents), which may be ordered to be shown to the court-appointed expert to reach conclusions on the financial statements of such party or on transactions booked by the same. Law 26388 made it a crime to have undue access to electronic telephone communications.

Discovery is limited under the procedural law codes, and there is a general principle that the party subject to a request for documents production order may refuse to deliver confidential documents and working papers. This refusal could, however, be seen by the court as confirmation that the allegations by the other party in this respect are credible, if supported by other evidence or if there is a refusal to deliver the documents by the party better suited to filing them, this being a breach of cooperation in establishing the facts at issue.

What are the rules in your jurisdiction regarding attorney-client privilege and work product privileges?

Attorney-client privilege is granted as the constitutional guaranty of due process of law so requires. Article 7c of Law 23187 sets forth such privilege. In the rare cases where there has been an attempt to make such counsel be a witness, counsel has the right to refuse to answer based on the duty to maintain professional secrecy, and the judge may not insist on such enquiry.

Jurisdiction

Must some energy disputes, as a matter of jurisdiction, first be heard before an administrative agency?

In the case of disputes regarding access to transport of natural gas, or of power, through the grid, and any other dispute between the different agents of the respective markets, the specific control entities, ENARGAS (articles 66 and 70, Law 24076) and ENRE (article 25, claimant customers can opt out and go directly to the courts, and articles 72 and 76, Law 24065) must receive such claims and decide on them, and such administrative rulings are subject to appeal with the Federal Appeal Court on Contentious Administrative matters (article 66, Law 24076), but such appeal must ensure full access to justice and review of facts and law (Angel Estrada & Co v Secretary of Energy, Federal Supreme Court, 5 April 2005).

In the case of challenges to laws and regulations, and not to specific administrative acts addressed to the plaintiff, claims can be filed for lack of respect of constitutional provisions (ie, Federal Supreme Court, Enap Sipetrol Argentina SA v Provincia de Tierra del Fuego, Antártida E Islas del Atlántico Sur s/ acción declarativa de inconstitucional, 23 August 2016, LA LEY 21 September 2016, 7 online: AR/JUR/57236/2016, where royalties computation on a notional price, and not on the actual price, were rejected).

Regulatory

Relevant agencies

Identify the principal agencies that regulate the energy sector and briefly describe their general jurisdiction.

See question 20. The issue of the limits of such competence has been a matter for discussion and the aforementioned case has set forth the standards of the review of appeals. As relates to the licensees or concessionaires (both for transportation and distribution) and customers and producers, the government authorities mentioned above have the role of regulating and controlling compliance with the respective legal frameworks, through a considerably extensive number of regulations. As a consequence, such authorities have the power to grant authorisations and permits, impose penalties, and conduct public audiences to allow the public to participate in the authorisation process for the activities regulated under such legal frameworks.

Access to infrastructure

Do new entrants to the market have rights to access infrastructure? If so, may the regulator intervene to facilitate access?

The legal framework for gas transmission and distribution has been largely distorted by regulations against the letter of the law. Thus, the open access principle set forth in article 2,c,f of Law 24076, which was set forth under a system of a free market for natural gas as a result of the unbundling in the 1990s of the state monopoly, operates differently from how it was intended to operate under the resolutions described below.

Resolution ENARGAS 419/97, which regulates the resale of transportation capacity (to be traded theoretically in the Mercado Electrónico de Gas, the gas electronic board, still inactive), originating from the principles on which Resolution 267/95 is based, had been opposed by several natural gas distribution licensees. By such resolution, any new transportation capacity on a firm basis offered by a natural gas transmission licensee should be awarded by an open bidding system, while the holders of existing contracts that grant transportation capacity on a firm basis may directly assign such contracts to third shippers, provided such assignment is the result of an open bidding made by the first shipper itself. The exception for these open bidding systems is for the case of bundled – supply or transportation – sale or a transport sale to a distributor in case of emergency of supply according to the regulations.

Resolution Enargas 1483/00 revisited these issues to allow non-discriminatory third parties open access to transport and distribution networks to the extent not reserved, already contracted, looking for a fair allotment of available capacity, subject to the precedence of firm capacity already contracted, but with no obligation to contract other, bundled, services. Open bidding was chosen for such purposes. Roll-in or incremental costs methods had to be chosen beforehand by the transporter for the expansion that may be requested. Resolution Enargas 1748/00 further provides for access by customers over 5,000 cubic metres a day.

In theory, the system provides open access, at least on an interruptible basis, to unbundled transportation services by the natural gas distributors to make the resale of transportation capacity (at the level of the transmission licensees) possible. The idea was to create an electronic bulletin board for resale of spare transportation capacity contracted by shippers, by means of a bidding with an award based on the combination of price, term and volume requested by the offeree. Resolution Enargas 289/00 requested the distributor and the customer to contract under interruptible distributor transportation, but anticipated Enargas would make large customers prove that they have equipment and installations that can be switched to alternative fuel consumption.

The first come, first served attitude that informed the open access transportation system came to an end, due to the mismatch between supply and demand resulting from frozen prices imposed by the government. Rationing, with its first manifestation being a limitation of volumes of natural gas as per the history of each consumer’s demand, emerged as the first answer. It was a new form of making ration coupons. The rerouting of export natural gas supply for domestic uses was one of the ways to cope with such mismatch, and with it followed a dispatch system on a discretionary basis by the Secretary of Commerce.

Under a stretched ‘agreement’ forced by the government under a Resolution SE 599/04, as from 2011 Resolution SE 1410/10 (afterwards complemented by Resolution 89/16 and resolution ENARGAS 3833/16 – and further, Resolution ENARGAS 4502/17, superseded by Resolution 124/18 – that set forth the procedure of nomination and re-nomination of daily gas for emergency reasons, which supposedly is a transition solution until open market policies are again put in place) set forth a dispatch priority procedure to administrate scarcity, establishing a priority demand and a first rank in the dispatch to incremental gas, gas plus (under programmes that have now expired) and non-conventional gas production (that are now reserved for new production).

The ex Minister of Energy and Mines has anticipated that the many regulations distorting the legal framework still in force, though not respected, would be revoked in order to restore the articulate system set forth in Laws 24076 and 24065, which includes a non-distorted open access principle.

Judicial review

What is the mechanism for judicial review of decisions relating to the sector taken by administrative agencies and other public bodies? Are non-judicial procedures to challenge the decisions of the energy regulator available?

See questions 20 and 21. Challenges to the decisions of the energy regulator have been frequent, the most significant ones being the international investment arbitration cases under BITs, whereby the international standards of international rights are deemed to have been breached by the regulations implementing energy policies by the past government. This began with Total v Argentina, in which we were co-counsel for the claimant, related to the oil and gas upstream (prohibition and redirecting of the natural gas supply, retroactive taxation of crude oil exports, freeze on gas transportation tariffs) and power (thermal and hydroelectric generation destruction of the price structure through governmental regulations) where an award determined the state responsibility and damages compensation. The award is now final as the annulment request was rejected by the Ad Hoc Committee in February 2016. A settlement was reached as for the enforcement of the award on the second quarter of 2017, through a payment of marketable, government-issued foreign currency bonds at a discount. The following companies have now filed claims against Argentina under the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes: National Grid, Sempra Energy, Enron, Repsol, Compañia General de Electricidad, Mobil, Wintershall, BP, Saur International, EDF, Enersis, El Paso, Gas Natural, Camuzzi, CMS, Endesa. One of the most recent developments in ICSID was the rejection of the annulment request by Argentina of the arbitral award issued in favour of claimant, Saur. In February 2018, the decision on jurisdiction and admissibility (Salini Impregilo SpA v Argentine Republic, ICSID Case No. ARB/15/39) was issued, rejecting the preliminary objections to the jurisdiction of the Arbitral Tribunal (once again, the typical objection by Argentina to the derivative lawsuits was rejected). In June 2018, Casinos Austria International Gmbh Y Casinos Austria Aktiengesellschaft v Argentina (ICSID case ARB/14/32, the arbitral tribunal affirmed its jurisdiction, rejecting objections based on the derivative claims issue as well as on the pretence to exclude its jurisdiction because of the existence of an exclusive jurisdictional clause in the terms of the concessions and bidding terms, a matter that was defined by the Vivendi precedent years ago. In Teinver SA, Transportes de Cercanías SA and Autobuses Urbanos del Sur SA v Argentine Republic (ICSID Case No. ARB/09/1) the arbitral award granted compensation to the claimant on July 2017.

The tariff freeze and price differentials have produced a number of challenges at the time of the establishment of increases and charges imposed on certain sectors of the energy markets, owing to the inconsistency of such regulations with the legal framework or even between themselves.

Fracking

What is the legal and regulatory position on hydraulic fracturing in your jurisdiction?

Law 27007 has specifically considered fracking as one of the non-conventional exploitation methods subject to special privileges, as it has incorporated the benefits previously set forth in Decree 929/13 and described it in article 5, as article 27-bis, to be a part of the Hydrocarbons Law. The provision grants the existing shale exploitation concession holders in their concession area the right to request new exploitation concessions with non-conventional techniques for 35 years (subject to renewable 10-year extensions) to non-conventional hydrocarbons exploitation concession in such areas where there are shale formations.

Subdivision or unitisation of exploitation concession blocks is permitted, the title being held by the former holders of the concession, thus granting an option to request a non-conventional exploitation concession by committing a pilot project, and such rights may coexist with a conventional exploitation in the adjacent field. Transport concession rights are granted for the same periods for those concessionaires. A minimum US€250 million investment commitment in a three-year period is required.

No export withholding tax will be assessed on the exported part of the production; a 20 per cent import duties exemption on capital goods (offshore 60 per cent) is also granted (but a transitory export withholding has been set forth for any and all exports, see below).

Royalties are capped at 12 per cent on market price (increasing to 15 per cent for the first extension, 18 per cent for the second), and tax and royalty stability is ensured (and up to a 50 per cent reduction of the royalties is promised depending on the kind of field involved and on the committed works).

The 10-year extension will be granted at the end of the concession, if the investment plan is approved, and compliance with the concession duties is proven, plus a bond of 2 per cent of proven reserves remaining in the exploitation concession to be paid to the holder of the eminent domain (the relevant province or the federal state, depending in which territory the concession is granted) at an average two-year median price-basin price; to be reduced to 2 per cent if the exploitation concession is transformed into a non-conventional exploitation concession, calculated on proven reserves (applying conventional exploitation methods) together with an increase of up to an 18 per cent royalty. Rights of way are granted for performing the relevant activities, and reporting duties are established, together with the duty to submit yearly plans, etc. No sovereign new areas are reserved for national or provincial government-controlled oil companies (provincial), but 2.5 per cent of such amounts are to be paid to the province towards, for example, social contributions and infrastructure. An Environmental Uniform Act will be enacted, as a guideline for best practices, thus preserving the sharing of federal and provincial jurisdictions. The provincial excise tax is capped at 3 per cent, while the stamp tax on financing documents is to be defined.

Decree 929/13 benefits are granted for non-conventional exploitation concessions (tight sands, tight gas, coal bed methane, shale gas and shale oil, low permeability rocks). Free export of the resulting hydrocarbons is admitted, up to 20 per cent of the production (60 per cent offshore), with no export withholding tax or foreign exchange repatriation duty (if such benefit is curtailed in the future, there is a guaranty to assure international prices, and access to foreign exchange is committed to by the government) though presently subject, as all exports of any nature, to a 10 per cent export withholding, down scalable implicitly since fixed in nominal Argentine currency at the exchange rate at the time the tax was enacted, to be diluted on account of local inflation.

Import rebates or import tax-free treatment are granted for capital goods (listed in Decree 927/13). The existing Natural Gas Plus and Incremental Gas regimes (regimes expiring at the end of 2017) have now given place to incentives, above described, for new non-traditional oil and gas exploitation, which have set a threshold (backed by the government) of US€7.5/MMBtu (see question 1, Resol ME y M 46/17), confirmed the government has committed itself to pay the difference between such amount and the median price obtained for the natural gas from the aggregate production in each basin, from traditional and non-traditional sources.

Other regulatory issues

Describe any statutory or regulatory protection for indigenous groups.

Law 23302 declared the support of the aboriginal and indigenous communities existing in the country to be in the national interest, along with their protection and development for their complete participation in the social, economic and cultural process of the nation. There is a registry of each of the communities, and they are granted a right to sufficient land for agricultural and livestock farming. The principle of consultation to indigenous communities in relevant hearings is considered. Article 18 of the new Civil and Commercial Law Code reaffirms their right to communal property.

Describe any legal or regulatory barriers to entry for foreign companies looking to participate in energy development in your jurisdiction.

In the case of investments in areas near to the frontiers, a special law states that prior approval is required. In the past, there have been no specific requests that could be considered as a barrier to entry in the energy field. Regulatory barriers are only relevant for assuring the unbundling of the different sectors, but are clear cut and defined in terms of avoiding vertical integration and influence in the market. The current government, elected at the end of 2015, is thought to dismantle any and all barriers to trade and investment, by freeing the foreign exchange market, eliminating export withholding duties (though having had to set forth, on account of the current commitment to reach at zero deficit for public expenses in 2019, an overall export withholding of 10 per cent computed in local currency at the current exchange rate at the time the Decree was enacted, therefore meant to be diluted by means of a lack of adjustment to the foreign currency exchange at the time of each export), reducing taxes for the import of capital goods, etc. Many of such goals have been achieved by now (free exchange rate and remittances, exports freed from foreign currency proceeds’ remittances, etc). It should be expected that the red tape and delays for the Antitrust Commission to approve concentration through acquisition or new investments should now be considerably reduced up to international standards, in the same way that it is expected that some irrational taxation (such as collecting income tax on the capital gain artificially recorded by considering profit, the differential between acquisition and sale value of non-­current assets on nominal currency) should be adjusted (an opportunity now available indirectly through a tax protected adjustment of fixed assets, at a price, and adjusted in the following fiscal years, or by a fully inflation adjusted tax return, if certain very high inflation rate thresholds are reached).

What criminal, health and safety, and environmental liability do companies in the energy sector most commonly face, and what are the associated penalties?

Resolutions SE 105/92 and 25/04 set forth the procedures and guidelines on environmental protection to be observed by the upstream industry, including the necessary environmental impact statements. Resolutions SE 341/93 and 201/96 regulate the remediation of hydrocarbon ponds; Resolutions 342/93 and 24/04 handle contingency plans; Resolution 236/93 NS 143/98 regards gas venting restrictions; abandonment and decommissioning of wells is dealt with by Resolution SETyC 5/96 and midstream and downstream regulations also cover such sectors. Because jurisdiction on environmental matters is shared between the federal state (for interstate effects, and for guidelines in this general framework) and the provinces, each of them has developed an entire body of regulations on the subjects above, as well as enforcement authorities for the licensing, permitting and penalisation of infringements. The Federal Law of Hazardous Waste imposes penalties ranging up to prison terms for infringements of the entire process of disposal and elimination of the same.

Autre

Sovereign boundary disputes

Describe any actual or anticipated sovereign boundary disputes involving your jurisdiction that could affect the energy sector.

There are currently no conflicts with neighbouring countries related to common reservoirs or territorial disputes. There are laws imposing prohibition of unlicensed hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation offshore or in Argentine territory, specifically reaching the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands, and imposing heavy penalties on companies developing such activities.

Energy treaties

Is your jurisdiction party to the Energy Charter Treaty or any other energy treaty?

No. Protocols were signed with Chile and later terminated, when Argentina unilaterally curtailed and finally closed the natural gas supply to Chile and, similarly, Uruguay. At present such Protocols are being revisited to allow the natural gas export already in progress.

Investment protection

Describe any available measures for protecting investors in the energy industry in your jurisdiction.

In addition to the international access by foreign investors to investment arbitration, there is an array of remedies that the investors may call on for the protection of the property rights or acquired rights, depending on the kind of breach, ranging from summary proceedings, claims for unconstitutionality, outright administrative law recourses and appeals with the Federal Chamber of Appeals in Contentious Administrative Matters, and others (replicated, for example, in provincial jurisdictions). Injunctions and other preliminary measures may be requested autonomously or within such proceedings, the most typical being the suspension of the effects of the measure causing a definitive prejudice to the investor or the local company, after a scrutiny of the standing to sue of each of them.

Cybersecurity

Describe any legal standards or best practices regarding cybersecurity relevant to the energy industry in your jurisdiction, including those related to the applicable standard of care.

See question 18 on the Data Protection Law.

Update and trends

Update and trends

List any major developments (case law, statute or regulation) that are anticipated to affect the energy sector in your jurisdiction in the next 12 months, including any developments related to the taxation of energy projects. What is the anticipated impact of climate change regulations, treaties and public opinion on energy disputes?

The energy sector is subject to significant challenges, as the novelty of huge reserves of shale gas and crude oil is matched by the experience and lessons gained in the past four years, allowing such reserves to be de-risked and be considered for booking as assets in the financial statements, as soon as price signals stabilise and demonstrate stability. Tensions will arise, however, as their valuation will depend on access of production (issued from such reserves) to market, a matter inherently dependent on:

(i) the making of a consistent and reliable domestic gas market with the sufficient depth – by the diversification of sources – and standardised offers;

(ii) the availability of domestic gas transmission pipeline expansion

  • assuring third party access (if built under unbundled gas transportation licences); ou
  • matching the aggregate offer of the gas producers, teaming up for building gas transportation concessions granted to them under the Hydrocarbons Law;
  1. the consolidation of the export trend, by means of the existing gas pipelines, to Chile and, through Uruguay, to Brazil, and the making of liquefaction plants to export LNG; et
  2. a simultaneous and parallel development of power regulations and market, allowing a smooth interaction between both gas and power markets, given their interdependence (two-thirds of the aggregate power is from thermal, gas burning, generators).

The amendment to the hydrocarbons law brought by Law 27007 has consolidated the title – by non-conventional exploration permits and exploitation concessions – on shale oil and gas shale formations, many of which were granted to the holders of existing conventional concessions in the same area, and by granting a limitless rollover of the concession’s life. To diversify the agents in this market a very active farm-in agreement market will be required (as the investments needed require a large amount of FDI, based on a substantial reduction of the country risk yet to be proved), if these resources are not left to remain underground, as one more unfulfilled promise. A promissory sign is given already by the entering into four new shale gas export agreements with Chile and one with Brazil, the building of a gas pipeline from Vaca Muerta, the most promising shale formation, to reach a trunk pipeline, the project of an additional gas pipeline (litoral gas pipeline) and of a dedicated one to reach a liquefaction plant on the Argentina’s Atlantic.

The strong expectation of the government relies on new forms of financing of the infrastructure needed, by means of public-private participation (PPP) schemes, owing to the severe limitations on public spending given the zero deficit commitment by the government to the IMF (which was a condition for the granting of a substantial standby credit to help Argentina overcome its current financial burden). Such formulas are now tested for public works (roads or highways), and for their eventual regulatory streamlining: the setting of expert dispute boards to follow the performance of the contracts, replicating ICC Rules on the subject, seem, however, to be burdened with their complex constitution procedure, and by the fact that the list of experts, from which the relevant ones are to be shortlisted for each contract, is provided by the government itself.

Arbitration (a classic for energy disputes), both domestic and international, has been freed of the constraints of the Procedural Law Code and other restrictive provisions, as the amendment of the Civil Law Code (now the Civil and Commercial Law Code) has regulated arbitration as a contract and expressly allowed the extension of competence to foreign tribunals when the subject has foreign points of contact, and a law on international arbitration was enacted basically following the UNCITRAL guidelines.

Public order, public policies and the ability of state entities to submit to arbitration continue to be debatable issues (ie, CRI Holding Inc Sucursal Argentina v Compañía Argentina de Comodoro Rivadavia Explotación de Petróleo SA, National Court of Appeals on Commercial Matters, section C, 5 October 2010, see question 14). The Civil and Commercial Law Code in section 1649 excludes from arbitration matters where public order is compromised (an exceptional circumstance that involves the essential principles and guaranties of public order, and certainly not precluding arbitrators from deciding on disputes between the parties as to which rights may be based on public policies and regulations).

As for contracts governed by public law, either with the state or regulated by it, dispute resolution clauses allow for foreign arbitration (in the renewable power supply agreements, PPPs, in offshore bidding terms or in a renegotiated highway toll concession). However, there are discrepancies, probably as a result of Argentine governments’ concern at having to rely on unlimited arbitration for public contracts and concessions – the reluctance to submit the state to foreign arbitral tribunals having yet not gone away – and given Argentina’s history of ICSID Rules arbitration under BITs and foreign jurisdiction for sovereign foreign debt. (Though this is accepted in principle, still regarded with reservation, which makes for the inclusion in the concession or contractual terms of a contractual fork-in-the road, by making the private party choose between arbitration under the terms of the contract or concession, under the procedure thereof defined, or the ICSID Rules appointed arbitration tribunal, without considering that such local election does not bar access to ICSID/BIT arbitration, as expressed in the decision on jurisdiction in Salini Impregilo SpA v Argentine Republic, ICSID Case No. ARB/15/39.) See the Vivendi I decision on annulment, commented on in La protección de las inversiones en la República Argentina, by Luis Alberto Erize, LA LEY 2002-E , 1063; AR/DOC/8175/2001.

Finally, in the public works and infrastructure areas, the impact on related companies of a widespread criminal court investigation initiated upon the disclosure of a set of notebooks with a precise agenda of myriad corrupt payments requested by high-ranking officials of the former government, paid by private parties, is still to be defined. The Corporations Criminal Responsibility Law was enacted in 2018, with no retroactive effects to penalise the corporations involved in such payments that had been made at dates prior to this government’s election.

Thus, Argentina is poised for energy transition, as the substitution of more polluting, CO2 intensive energy sources by natural gas fulfils the guidelines set forth in the draft report from the International Energy Agency to the G20 Energy Transitions Working Group:

The G20 has identified natural gas as a flexible and clean energy fuel option, featuring lower emissions than combusting coal or oil. Gas resources have been unlocked thanks to technology innovation in the production of unconventional supply. The social and environmental benefits of natural gas require effective regulation and high standards of industry in order to ensure continued public acceptance for the role of gas and also to limit emissions of methane. The development of regional gas markets with larger balancing zones and hubs, many of them integrated across borders through pipelines and/or liquefied natural gas, are driven by security of supply, economic efficiency, notably price convergence and transparency . . . . Argentina has an opportunity to develop the vast potential of unconventional gas development from the Vaca Muerta field, one of the world’s largest shale gas resources, which will allow Argentina to reduce import needs and become a leading pipeline and LNG exporter. In Argentina, the role of natural gas largely exceeds its function of providing flexibility. The significant substitution potential in power generation and in other uses allows for a faster transition towards a cleaner energy system.

Différends énergétiques en Argentine – Lexology – Ou louer une BMW C Evolution
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