The Government appealed the ruling of the Mar del Plata Justice that paralyzes offshore exploration

The Government appealed the ruling of the Mar del Plata Justice that paralyzes offshore exploration

The seabed oil exploration project in the Argentine Sea was awarded in 2019 and involves an investment commitment of almost US$800 million

The national government appealed on Tuesday the ruling of the Justice of Mar del Plata that ordered the suspension of the oil exploration project 300 kilometers from the coast of that city of Buenos Aires after giving rise to a precautionary measure, and also requested the disqualification of Judge Santiago Martín on understanding that there was a “lack of impartiality” due to the relationship he maintains with one of the petitioners.

The appeal brief I consider “Absolutely unnecessary or premature the precautionary measures and the conjectural cumulative impacts of the explorations to be carried out on the Argentine Sea”, understanding that “the supposed auditory impacts, interferences in migratory currents, suckling interruptions in young marine mammals, are today absolutely conjectural”.

After recalling that the seismic prospecting tasks would begin within eight months – October 2022, “this information is being studied by the technical areas of the Ministry of the Environment; so the only thing left to ask is: what is the irreparable damage?” government.

“There are only conjectures that do not point out in a thoughtful way which stage of the project is the one that produces the damage they argue and in what dimension. Thus, the postulate of accrediting this requirement is not fulfilled, which also imposes for these reasons, the rejection of the injunction requested,” added the brief.

In addition to the conceptual and technical foundations that refute the ruling of last week of the Federal Court No. 2 of Mar del Plata, The appeal presented by the Ministry of the Environment includes a recusal of the acting judge for manifest links with the main actors that promote the precautionary measure that stopped the activity, official sources explained.

As evidence to consider, The brief proposed, among others, the tweet of the constitutionalist Daniel Sabsay where “he celebrates by hugging the judge of the case the dictation of the injunction together with one of the lawyers of the injunctions”, the environmental lawyer José Esain, who is a sponsor in this same case of the Council of Argentine Fishing Companies (ECA).

In upholding the precautionary measure, Judge Martín had ordered In the past week the suspension of the approval of the oil exploration project which went through a Public Hearing instance in 2021 and had the approval of the Ministry of the Environment.

The magistrate determined fResume exploration tasks by the Norwegian state oil company Equinor in the sea in search of oil reserves until the underlying issue is resolved.

After the filing of the appeal, the Secretary of Energy, Darío Martínez, expressed that The Government appealed this ruling because “its foundations are unrelated to reality, Y the ruling causes profound damage to the development of production and the generation of work and economic activity in coastal cities”.

Martínez added that the ruling “absolutely ignores the highest levels of care for the environment and the strict international standards of proven operational safety that have been achieved in offshore production and that will be applied in these projects.”

According to Martinez, “This ruling is based on erroneous, mistaken precepts, unrelated to the oil activity that is going to be developed, and denotes profound ignorance about it, its history and its characteristics”.

“On the other hand,” he continued, “it generates an unjustified brake on the generation of thousands of jobs for Argentines who live in riverside cities and opportunities for greater activity for their SMEs, as well as deprives the country of developing and taking advantage of energy resources it needs.

Employment generation

In that sense, The Minister of Productive Development, Matías Kulfas, assured that the development of offshore hydrocarbon exploitation on the Atlantic coast could generate around 220,000 jobs direct and indirect and exports for some US$ 25,000 million per year.

For Kulfas, “if everything went well, The impact on currencies would be such that the problem of the exchange rate would disappear or at least it would be much more flexible than today.

In a dialogue with Radio Nacional, the official maintained that The Government “is neither in favor of anything goes nor for prohibitionism” and, after highlighting that for the first time the Ministry of the Environment participated in the feasibility studies, he remarked that “everything was done within a framework of strong environmental protections”, in addition to recalling that the offshore development will be located “300 kilometers from the coast “.

The oil project

The seabed oil exploration project in the Argentine Sea was awarded in 2019 and involves an investment commitment of almost US$800 million by the consortium of companies headed by Equinor in partnership with YPF and Shell.

On December 30, the Government granted the Environmental Impact Statement and authorized the companies to carry out seismic exploration studies.

However, last Friday, the Federal Justice of Mar del Plata ordered the suspension of the project by making room for a precautionary measure promoted by the mayor of General Pueyrredón, Guillermo Montenegro, and environmental organizations.

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