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Image courtesy of Cezary Piwowarski/Wikimedia Commons.

Argentina’s Congress gave final approval to a new law Thursday that will overhaul energy investment regulations with the aim of boosting investment in the country’s oil and gas sector.

The law, passed Thursday, will cut royalties up to 50 percent for offshore, heavy oil and tertiary recovery projects.

National royalties will be capped at 12 percent during a company’s initial concession and a maximum 3 percent increase on an unlimited number of 10-year renewals.

A key investment threshold was also slashed from $1 billion to $250 million that allows companies to sell a portion of oil in foreign markets without export controls or taxes after three years.

The exemption is capped at 20 percent for unconventional production and 60 percent for offshore production.

The new bill also loosens restrictions on importing technology and equipment.

Shale concession periods will now be set at 35 years while offshore concessions will be set at 30 years.

Exploration timetables were reduced to speed up investment.

Provinces will still oversee their own resources and handle license granting. However, the bill requires a portion of the proceeds from new contracts to pay for infrastructure projects.

Moreover, provincial oil companies will have to become members of a consortium and participate in competitive bid processes to win permits.

“With this hydrocarbons law we are seeking energy independence in the face of those that always want to return to the past,” Argentina’s president of the chamber of deputies Julian Dominguez said.