By José Rigane*
The news is known only through some journalistic reports. We only know that, at the moment, the top official in charge of the text is the new president of YPF, Guillermo Nielsen, and the Minister of Development and Production, Matías Kulfas.
So far very little is known because “they have the document stored under lock and key”, according to some media that published the news.
What is known is that President Alberto Fernández whishes for it to be treated in extraordinary sessions in Congress during February.
The last major reform on hydrocarbons regulation was in 2014, when the oil companies needed “guarantees” to invest in Vaca Muerta. Now, everything indicates that we are going to be talking again in the country about some issues such as the “free availability of foreign currency” that foreign oil companies ask to get the dollars they generate with our oil and gas.
In addition, there is talk of the creation of a “trust under foreign legislation” that allows currency to be freely rotated at the local exchange rate.
The oil lobby asks for “clear rules for the next 30 years,” which clearly states that they are not thinking about how to get out of the economic crisis that Macri’s government left in Argentina, but how to maximize their profits with our natural resources.
Last but not least, another thing known is that there are plans to extend to all oil basins the collective work agreement for Vaca Muerta, signed by Macri and the union leader Guillermo Pereyra, an agreement which (as it was demonstrated) makes the work of oil workers more flexible through, for example, multitasking, reduction of operators per equipment, flexibility of working hours, etc.
No law can defend the sovereignty, natural resources and wealth of our country in terms of hydrocarbons if it does not contemplate the interests of the Argentine people and favors them. No law can go against our sovereignty or cause a deepening of the model of privatization of energy started in the 90s with neoliberalism.
If this law to be presented by the government of Alberto Fernández will continue to deepen the privatization process, we regret to say that this regulation will be absolutely negative for the entire Argentine people.
We are not in the presence of a Law that is going to be discussed in Congress, promoted by the Executive Power, which was designed for the short term, as an emergency measure in the face of the crisis. On the contrary, we are in the presence of a Law that, if we do not debate it publicly, will establish regulations directly in favor of the oil companies in the long-term, passing over the country’s sovereignty and over our people.
*José Rigane: Deputy Secretary of the Autonomous CTA, Secretary General of the Federation of Energy Workers (FeTERA) and the energy trade Union of “Luz y Fuerza” of Mar del Plata