Argentina sues UK, US firms over Malvinas drilling
Argentina has launched legal proceedings against three UK and two US companies for drilling gas and oil off the disputed Malvinas islands in South Atlantic Ocean, which are also known as the Falklands to the British.
Argentinean Secretary of Malvinas Affairs Daniel Filmus made the announcement on Friday in the British capital, London.
The minister said an Argentinean judge in the southern city of Rio Grande had agreed to take on the legal case, involving three British companies – Premier Oil, Rockhopper Exploration and Falkland Oil & Gas – as well as two US-based firms Edison International and Noble Energy.
“I want to make it clear for the directors of these companies and for British public opinion that Argentina will use the full force of the law – both national and international law – to prevent these countries from taking the riches which belong to 40 million Argentine citizens,” said Filmus.
Filmus added that “all exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons on the Argentine continental shelf without Argentine authorization is illegal.”
The area being drilled is “as much ours as the center of Buenos Aires. Neither the UK nor any other country would allow anyone to enter their territory and take away their riches,” the Argentinean official stressed.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond responded to the announcement by accusing Argentina of bullying and said, “It’s an outrageous abuse of international procedure and we will take any action we can to resist it.”
Located about 300 miles (almost 500 kilometers) off Argentina’s coast and home to about 3,000 inhabitants, the disputed islands have been declared part of the British Overseas Territories since Britain established its colonial rule on the territories in 1833.
Argentina and Britain fought a 74-day war in 1982 over the islands, which ended with the British side claiming victory over Argentina.
Buenos Aires says Britain forcibly stripped Argentina of sovereignty over the islands and has been occupying the territory since then.