In search of votes to reach the runoff, the minister-candidate of Union for the Homeland, Sergio Massatraveled to Neuquén, on a tour in which he participated Ambit. It is one of the provinces where it had one of the worst results in the primaries, coming third, but where it hopes to recover voting intentions for October, because it garnered political support from forces outside the Frente de Todos, and because This is an oil territory where the upcoming measures have an impact. During his time in Vaca Muerta, Massa anticipated measures for companies, infrastructure, the LNG law and dams.
The choice of Neuquén as the province to make energy announcements was no coincidence. Of the southern Argentine provinces, it is the only one where the polls checked by the official campaign command show Massa behind Javier Milei, candidate for president of La Libertad Avanza. While, at the same time, it is the province where proportionally the largest number of workers benefit from the elimination of the income tax, due to the high salaries in the oil sector.
Vaca Muerta Dollar and political support
In a nod to the sector, Massa announced a benefit for companies, which could be summarized as “Vaca Muerta dollar”, because it has a similar scheme to the soy dollar. It will allow export companies to settle 25% of their sales at the CCL exchange rate, which is more than double the official exchange rate, without losing access to the MULC. From Economy they assure that in this way the most important energy companies in the country will maintain investment, and with it employment.
Furthermore, the person who celebrated the measure was the current governor of Neuquén, Omar Gutierrez. “I want to thank you and congratulate you, because this calls on companies to accelerate investments, it is decisive,” he said at the government house, on Tuesday night, at an event with Massa to sign energy agreements.
Both the current governor and the elected one, Rolando Figueroa, both from different parties, and who are not part of the FdT, were very close to Massa, from receiving him at the airport, to sharing events, photos and thanks. Even in the massive event on Wednesday morning that Massa gave to more than 30,000 people, UP claims that part of the organization was financed by Figueroa.
Gas pipeline tender
The announcement about the “Vaca Muerta dollar” was made during a tour by Massa of the Vaca Muerta Norte pipeline, which will begin operating in October and will allow an increase in transportation capacity by 50%, to add exports to Chile. At that same event, there were also advances about the future of the infrastructure.
Massa announced that This Friday the envelopes for the Reversal del Norte tender will be openedthe gas pipeline that will bring energy from Vaca Muerta to the provinces of northern Argentina, and estimated that it will be completed in May 2024. In addition, he anticipated that on Monday of next week the call for tender for the second section of the Néstor Kirchner gas pipeline. For the first time, he set a completion date: July 2024. Massa highlighted the “economic opportunity,” assuring that it will allow Vaca Muerta gas to be brought to southern Brazil.
LNG and dams
Another of Massa’s announcements was the request that Congress resume treatment of the LNG bill. “Everything is planned so that it can be discussed in the next session”, stated the minister from the Neuquén government house. He also participated in the trip Cecilia Moreau, president of the Chamber of Deputies. As Ámbito learned, next week they could be ruled on, and the objective is to bring the project to the venue in the session on October 11. The ruling party assures that beyond specific changes in some articles, there is consensus on its approval, although not in the case of the hydrogen law.
“The LNG law is what will give us greater production volume, but also added value to improve the quality of exports,” said Massa.
Finally, the candidate took advantage of the massive event in Plottier, with oil, state and construction unions, to make reference to a delicate issue between the Nation and the province: the hydroelectric dams. “We are going to defend the natural resources of the people of Neuquén, and with that the right for the dams to be managed jointly between the Nation and the province, which is the owner of the water,” said Massa.
The next economic measure will be extend the concession to the private sector for another 30 days to continue negotiating with the provinces once the elections are over. The objective of the Nation is for them to be able to manage them jointly, although the Nation is the owner of the company, and without opening the door to tax collections that the Economy sees as distortive.