October 18, 2016 / 10:32 PM / 2 years ago

Spain's Repsol rules out return to Argentina despite new government

CALLAO, Peru, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Spanish oil major Repsol said it has no interest in investing in Argentina again following the 2012 nationalization of its energy firm, despite the new business-friendly government of President Mauricio Macri.

Macri has renewed interest in Argentina’s vast oil and natural gas reserves since taking office in December, ending 12 years of leftist rule in Latin America’s third biggest economy.

But Repsol Chairman Antonio Brufau said his company would steer clear of the South American country that seized its controlling stake in energy firm YPF during the government of former president Cristina Fernandez.

“For us, Argentina is in the past. We left in the way everyone knows we left and I don’t think it’s suitable to think about going back,” Brufau told reporters at the inauguration of Repsol’s low-sulphur diesel refining unit in Callao, Peru.

Macri’s government has called the expropriation of Repsol’s stake in YPF abusive and asked the Spanish for forgiveness.

“We wish Argentina the best. I think Argentina has a very good, very serious government,” Brufau said. “But when things are over they’re over.”

In 2014, Repsol sold its remaining Argentine assets and agreed to a $5 billion settlement with the government - about half of what it had initially sought in compensation for YPF.

Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil Corp have both announced billions in possible investments in Argentina in coming years following meetings with Macri.

Reporting by Mitra Taj; Editing by Andrew Hay

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