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According to Mansilla , p. In other words, up until the dawn of the nineteen-nineties, the state played the starring role on the energy policy stage, setting the guidelines and rules to follow up and down the entire hydrocarbons chain.
With the advent of economic liberalization, as the country began to open up after Menem took office, the energy policy began to undergo profound transformations. Argentina, just like Bolivia and Peru, were radical examples in their time, because their respective administrations—each in its own way—sought to change the model by which state-owned and transnational enterprises interacted in the sector.
Based on the status report—the baseline, as Oxilia and Blanco wrote—the Menem administration classified YPF and Gas del Estado as unproductive and inefficient companies.
To do so, they amended the laws preventing private actors from getting involved and created tax incentives. Following a complex process to divide up its shares, YPF was finally acquired by the Repsol group in Gas del Estado was split into 10 different companies: Other provisions removed the crude quotas and did away with the prohibition on exporting crude; freed up foreign currency; deregulated oil and gas prices; and released tenders for areas previously under the charge of YPF.
Lacking the capacity to intervene, transnational companies were at full liberty to decide the what and how of the sector and, consequently, the state relinquished control of the future of the industry. This does explain the tremendous growth in hydrocarbon productivity throughout the entire decade, as Argentina started to meet the demand in Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay see Table 2.
Exports kicked off the decade at The domestic market was careless when it came to medium- and long-term sustainability. Proof is found in the fact that because production failed to meet domestic demand, the country imported small amounts of natural gas from Bolivia despite burgeoning gas exports. On another note, other authors have remarked that Argentina failed to expand its domestic transportation routes, because private companies poured investment into infrastructure works for exporting Mansilla, The results of this policy came to the fore after the collapse of convertibility 9 in and the a posteriori measures designed to deal with the economic crisis ailing the country.
In an effort to ease the shock, wellhead hydrocarbon prices were converted to pesos—they had previously been in dollars—; taxes were levied on natural gas exports; and an upper ceiling was set for the free availability of foreign currency from hydrocarbon and byproducts exports.
Between when the Repsol group acquired YPF in and December , the hydrocarbon sector spiraled downward. Against the impossibility of meeting the demands of the domestic market and demands from foreign neighbors, the executive branch released in March a hydrocarbon export rationalization program to prevent the domestic supply from buckling altogether.
Chile is unique because the rationalization process, which in practice entailed not only service restrictions but also suspensions, was not foreseen by the FPV administration. In fact, it took the Ricardo Lagos administration by surprise, setting off the so-called gas crisis between the two countries Lorenzini, Chile's complaints came swiftly.
At that point in time, the FPV administration's strategy was to quickly find a regional supplier to help out in fulfilling domestic natural gas requirements in an effort to offset the negative fallout for the economy as a whole, which was barely beginning to recover after the exit from convertibility. The inability to reduce dependency on imported natural gas in the short term became clear after the announcement of the nationalization of Bolivian hydrocarbons Decree It is worth noting that in the former president's speech to the opening of the session of the Legislative Assembly, on March 1, , ENARSA was rolled out as a "company witnessing The rest went to the provinces Law To the agreement is added the signing of an interruptible contract, on July 18, , permitting ENARSA to buy additional volumes of natural gas to be marketed at the behest of YPFB pursuant to market requirements.
Up until , natural gas exports to Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay exceeded imports coming from Bolivia. From that point forward, nevertheless, purchases began to rise constantly, practically eclipsing the amounts sent to the bordering countries.
Likewise, in , LNG imports from regional destinations and even places outside of the region, to supplement the Bolivian, joined the mix. In monetary terms, the preponderance of energy imports to energy exports gave rise to two parallel situations: Solely in the case of natural gas, the negative balance in amounted to 81,, dollars, ascending to 1,,, dollars by Natural gas in millions of m3. LNG in millions of net kg. The author examines the entire patchwork of actions and provisions comprising the national energy policy, shaping the government's strategy to manage the sector.
Regarding the efficacy of the former to which the role of ENARSA must be added , 16 looking at the statistical data on gas and oil reserves and gas production and consumption volumes, it is inferred that these measures were not enough to reverse the downward spiral of the energy balance and make a substantial dent in the energy matrix.
At the end of —the first year of the Kirchner administration—oil reserves amounted to , thousand m3 Mm3 , and production was at 42, Mm3, while gas reserves were calculated at , million m3 MMm3 and production was at 50, MMm3. By way of example, as said before, as of , hydraulic energy accounted for just 4.
Looking at biofuels, especially biodiesel, production has taken off since from , to 1,, tons in , but it is primarily exported abroad. Said another way, the Argentine energy supply continued to remain heavily reliant on hydrocarbons, mainly natural gas, exacerbating its dependency on imports. On May 3, , with Law As Bravo , p. On the other hand, the government weighed the potential of unconventional reserves—tight gas and shale gas—which began to gain a higher profile starting in In , the U.
Energy Information Administration published an initial assessment of the shale gas situation in 32 countries, which was updated two years later. The top ten countries with technically recoverable shale gas resources in TCF were: Even so, considering the gravity of the energy situation the country began to face in the aughts; the brief amount of time that has passed since the expropriation of Repsol; and the nascent state of the YPF agreements with oil transnationals, Law On the one hand, the Barrera et al.
The redirecting of the profits has allowed the company to focus on exploration and exploitation to help the sector recover. The statistics show that as of , natural gas and oil reserves were slightly on the rise, calculated at a 6.
In other words, the process of striking a true inflection point with the past and looking to an energy policy of the future whose provisions and actions grant the state a larger role is still taking its first steps. The total surface area of Vaca Muerta is 30, km2, of which 12, km2 belong to the YPF concession.
Now, it must not be forgotten that mining shale gas also requires large amounts of investment that must be sustained over time—due to the complexity of the extraction process—; one speaks of technical recoverable reserves not proven reserves and accurate information is still lacking as to the socioenvironmental impacts of ongoing projects Apud et al.
Along these lines, there have been significant controversies swirling around the YPF-Chevron agreement signed on July 16, , in response to the lack of transparency as to its content. It is worth bearing in mind that Law Decree provided for the creation of a system to promote investment in exploiting hydrocarbons; its objectives included achieving hydrocarbon self-supply to ensure economic development and boosting investment and join national to foreign capital in the exploration and exploitation phases of conventional and non-conventional fields Decreto , Several of the most salient aspects are as follows: If the holders of the concessions live up to their obligations, they can apply for year extensions; 4 it reduced the amount required for investment projects to enjoy the benefits in Decree from one billion to million dollars.
The benefits outlined in the Decree will be recognized starting in the third year; 5 environmental obligations are meager. The only requirement is to pass uniform environmental laws with an eye to implementing best environmental management practices Law All of these provisions were pushed by the executive branch to encourage transnational companies to get involved in the sector.
But in terms of rhetoric, it has defended the energy policy objective of needing the state to provide guidance and control in those sectors, like the energy sector, that drive socioeconomic development. If energy policy, like any public policy, refers to the suite of decisions, actions, and provisions made by the governmental powers to manage the energy sector, the following aspects emerge in the case of Argentina.
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