4 de septiembre de 2015 / 0:10 / en 2 años

Indigenous protest halts oil output in key Argentine province

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Oil and natural gas output in Argentina’s key energy-producing province of Neuquen was paralyzed by a land-rights protest by an indigenous group on Thursday, state-controlled oil company YPF said in a statement.

The indigenous Paynemil community blocked roads as part of a demonstration over “territorial claims” that the statement said had already been settled by provincial authorities.

“The company took this decision in order to protect its employees and production installations,” the statement said.

It also said it had asked law enforcement authorities to force an end to the roadblocks, which cut off access to the Vaca Muerta shale field and could cause local energy shortages if allowed to continue.

Argentina needs $200 billion in investment to develop its vast but barely tapped Neuquen shale fields, but no joint ventures were on the horizon because of low oil prices and uncertainty ahead of the October presidential election, YPF officials said last month.

The biggest joint venture so far was a 2013 pact with Chevron Corp, under which the two companies have put about $3 billion in the Belgium-sized Vaca Muerta formation. (Reporting by Nicolas Misculin; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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