It is a pilot project for the production of uranium in Cerro Solo, a deposit located in the center of Chubut, which according to the Mining Code belongs to the National Commission of Atomic Energy. This is one of the 39 projects listed by the national Government for the province of Chubut. According to the budget that is presently discussed through the chambers in Congress, the works are expected to be concluded in 2019.
In Chubut, though mining is expressly forbidden by the provincial Law 5,001, uranium is considered technically as a fuel. Moreover, while permits are usually granted as concessions approved by the provinces, the Mining Code establishes that the deposit located in Cerro Solo is a property of the National Commission of Atomic Energy. This implies that the national government (of which the Commission is part) has the powers to decide to make use of it. The estimated reserves of the deposit are of 30 million pounds considering a production period of ten years.
YPF PLANS TO SELL METROGAS ONCE THE INDUSTRY IS ORGANIZED
In a market that stimulates competition, the production and distribution of a strategic resource as natural gas cannot be in the same hands. This was noticed as soon as YPF –the largest producer of natural gas in the country- took control over Metrogas –the gas distribution company for half of the City of Buenos Aires and its metropolitan area-. The Government –that owns 51% of the shares in YPF- is thinking in a drastic decision to send a message to the market, the sale of Metrogas.
The drafted plan contemplates the previous accomplishment of certain steps in relation with the normalization of the industry. After years of frozen tariffs and inflation the financial situation of most distribution companies is a delicate one. This leaded to the measures the Government took to gradually update tariffs schemes. They are also considering internal changes in Enargas, the regulatory agency for gas distribution. There are many disputes pending to be settled between distribution and production companies. In light of the foregoing, the sale of Metrogas would be expected in one year from now.
Metrogas was a company with a high profitability until 2001 crisis and pacification. In 2010 it was intervened by the State and in 2013 the Company was in its path to bankruptcy. The Company was controlled between British Gas and YPF, before YPF assumed all obligations without any specific plan. YPF would not suffer any particular harm if they decide to leave Metrogas. They expect to focus on gas production once the market is stable enough to negotiate directly with large consumers.
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