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Britain reassures banks over Argentina’s Falklands threats

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The British Government has told the Falklands and companies working there that it will defend the protectorate against Argentine aggression. Photo: Reuters

The Foreign Office has sought to reassure British and American banks threatened by the Argentine government over their involvement in the Falkland Islands oil industry.

By James Quinn
9:30PM BST 21 Apr 2012

The Government, in a move designed to ease concern among the investment community about the Argentine legal threats, has written to some 15 banks and oil exploration companies operating in the region.

The move comes as Argentina faces international condemnation for its seizure of Repsol’s majority stake in YPF, Argentina’s largest oil company, last week.

In the new letter, the Foreign Office says it is “deeply sceptical” that Argentina would be able to enforce “any penalties” in courts outside its own borders. It adds that the government of the Falklands “is entitled to develop” oil and fishing industries in its own waters “without interference from Argentina.”

“The British Government has no doubt about our sovereignty over the Falkland Islands and surrounding maritime areas,” it adds.

News of the letter follows The Sunday Telegraph’s revelation that the Argentine government had written to banks involved in the Falkland oil industry threatening them with legal action. In writing to the banks concerned, including broker Oriel Securities and Royal Bank of Scotland, the Government has sought to not jeopardies the fledgling Falkland oil industry.

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Edison Investment Research, which has published research on the value of oil around the islands , slammed the attempts to silence it.

“Edison Investment Research firmly believes in the right for all financial institutions, publishers and in particular financial research houses such as ours to be able to exercise their right to provide independent analysis of all quoted companies wherever they are listed and wherever their operations may be carried out,” said Edison’s Fraser Thorne.

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North Falkland Basin: Rockhopper Spuds 8th Well on Sea Lion, (Offshore Falklands)

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Rockhopper Exploration plc , the North Falkland Basin oil and gas exploration company, announces that the 14/10-9 well (the “Well”) was spudded at 10.45 hrs BST on 25 October 2011.

The Well, situated on Licence PL032, which is 100% owned and operated by Rockhopper, is the eighth well to be drilled on the Sea Lion feature. It is located approximately 5.9 km to the south west of the 14/10-2 discovery well and is designed to investigate reservoir presence and hydrocarbon charge within the Sea Lion Main Complex towards the southern edge of the Company’s acreage and is also an exploration well on the Eastern side of the Casper prospect.

Drilling operations are expected to take approximately 33 days and a further announcement will be made once drilling is completed.

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