Protests force Argentina's YPF to close hundreds of wells for 2nd day

viernes 4 de septiembre de 2015 11:13 GYT

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Argentina's state-run energy firm YPF said oil and natural gas output was paralyzed in part of the key energy-producing Neuquen region for a second day on Friday because of land-rights protests by an indigenous group.

YPF said 400 oil wells and 300 gas wells had been shut down in the Loma La Lata, Loma Campana and Rincon del Mangrullo fields, resulting in a production loss of 16 million cubic meters of gas and 32,000 barrels of crude so far.

Protesters from the indigenous Paynemil community have barricaded roads, cutting off access to the Vaca Muerta shale field as part of a demonstration over territorial claims.

"If they lift the road blocks, it will take another 24 to 48 hours to get the affected sites back up and running," YPF said in a statement.

YPF said it had begun legal action against the Paynemil community.

The Paynemil claim ancestral rights to land in Neuquen province and their grievances could be a thorn in the side of future joint ventures between YPF and foreign firms. Argentina needs $200 million dollar in new investments to exploit the vast Vaca Muerta shale fields. (Reporting by Eliana Raszewski; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Frances Kerry)