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Image courtesy of YPF.

A 24-hour strike at the Neuquen refinery of Argentina’s state-owned YPF cost the company about $12 million, Bloomberg said.

The strike was staged on July 24 and may have cut production by 160,000 barrels of oil and 6 million cubic meters of natural gas, according to YPF.

The province is projected to lose $1.96 million (16 million pesos) in royalties from the strike, Bloomberg said.

Neuquen is home to the large shale deposit known as Vaca Muerta, the fourth largest shale-oil and second largest shale-gas reserve in the world.

YPF has estimated that Vaca Muerta contain 661 billion barrels of oil and 1,181 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The strikers were protesting proposed changes to Argentina’s 1967 hydrocarbon laws.

Alterations to the laws could change how revenue from Vaca Muerta and other deposits will be distributed between provinces and companies.

Provinces want to keep the royalty rate at 23 percent but the federal government wants the rate to be reduced to 15 percent to attract investors, Bloomberg said.

The Neuquen basin produces 40 percent of Argentina’s oil output and 56 percent of its gas output.

The striking workers are employed by YPF, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Petrobras Argentina SA.

A 48-hour strike has been planned for July 30 and 31, Bloomberg said.