For immediate release
19 December 2017

Campaigners condemn BP’s “under-the-radar” merger in Argentina

BP has announced that the merger of its Argentinian arm Pan-American Energy and the Argentinian-Chinese downstream company Axion Energy is now complete.[1]

Platform campaigner Anna Markova commented,

BP’s announcement is perfectly timed to attract the least attention possible, both in the UK and in Argentina where a huge government crackdown on protest is in progress. This under-the-radar merger could create the largest private integrated oil company in Argentina, with significant influence over internal hydrocarbons prices, and a crucial role in Argentina’s controversial shale gas mega-project, Vaca Muerta.

BP/PAE machinery at Lindero Atravesado. Credit: Martín Alvarez Mulally – OPSur

A report released by Platform and Observatorio Petrolero Sur earlier this year[2] demonstrated that

  • BP’s Argentinian arm Pan-American Energy (PAE) plans to have fracked 37 new wells by the end of 2017 on its Patagonian concessions.
  • The company’s track record in Argentina includes an alleged $300 million bribe in 2007 and a series of refusals to admit to and clean up groundwater contamination.
  • BP’s flagship Argentinian concession Lindero Atravesado, where 23 wells are supposed to have been fracked in 2017, overlaps with a town (Vista Alegre) that has passed a resolution to ban fracking, as well as a lake that provides drinking water to the provincial capital Neuquén.

The offices of Argentinian organisation Observatorio Petrolero Sur were ransacked three days prior to the release of the report,[3] amid escalating repression against civil society in general and resistance to fracking in particular.