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Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales (YPF; English: "Fiscal Petroleum Fields") was an Argentinemarker state-owned oil company. Founded in 1922 under Hipólito Yrigoyen's administration, it was privatized in 1991 by Carlos Menem, and bought back by the Spanish firm Repsol, the result of the merger taking the name of Repsol YPF. YPF's first director was Enrique Mosconi, who advocated economic independence for Latin American states and, during Yrigoyen's second term, starting in 1928, nationalization of oil resources. The latter, however, was never achieved, due to a military coup headed in 1930 by José Félix Uriburu which overturned Yrigoyen.


The company, specialising in the exploration, production, refining and commercialisation of petroleum, had its origin in 1907, when oil was discovered near the city of Comodoro Rivadavia in Chubut. Following World War I, oil had become an important resource, leading to struggles between rival powers to gain control of it.

YPF was created by the June 3, 1922 decree of Hipólito Yrigoyen's administration, and was first directed by Enrique Mosconi. It was the first entirely state-run oil company in the world (the second being the French Compagnie française des pétroles (CFP, French Company of Petroleums), created in 1924 by the conservative Raymond Poincaré). YPF's creation was followed by the creation of Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB), as well as the Uruguayanmarker ANCAP (Administración Nacional de Combustibles, Alcohol y Portland, 1931) and the Brazilianmarker Petrobras, created in 1953 by Getúlio Vargas.

YPF bought its first tanker in the United Statesmarker in 1923, and built not only several extracting facilities, but whole towns and cities, such as Comodoro Rivadavia, Caleta Olivia in Santa Cruzmarker, Plaza Huincul in Neuquén and General Mosconi in Salta.

Mosconi, who had previously been in charge of the Aeronautics division of the Army, proposed to Corvalán, governor of Salta Province, exploitation of Salta's oil by the YPF, offering him 13% royalties for the province. However, Corvalán, allied with the Standard Oil, rejected Mosconi's proposal, referring to the concept of provincial autonomies. This refusal lead Mosconi to evolve in favor of the nationalization of oil supplies in order to strengthen Argentina's independence.

Under Alvear's administration, Enrique Mosconi created the distillery of La Platamarker, which was the tenth largest in the world. According to Mosconi, this spawned the beginning of "the mobilization of all sorts of resistances and obstacles" from the oil trusts, in particular from the Standard Oil, which was the most influential foreign companies in Argentina, with presence in Comodoro Rivadavia, Jujuy and Salta.

On September 28, 1928, at the end of Alvear's term, the deputies approved a law establishing state monopoly on oil. The monopoly, however, was not absolute, being limited to oil exploration, exploitation and transport, but excluding selling and imports. Private firms opposed themselves to the law project, refusing to pay a 10% royalties, and the law was finally blocked by the conservatives in the Senate.

Oil nationalization became an important theme of Yrigoyen's electoral campaign in 1928, although the Yrigoyenistas focused their criticisms against the Standard Oil, abstaining themselves from attacking the Britishmarker, to whom Argentina's economy was closely linked, in particular the Royal Dutch Shell.

Following Yrigoyen's victory at the 1928 elections, YPF, still directed by Enrique Mosconi, reduced oil prices in May 1929, leading to the cheapest petroleum in the world and to an important increase in YPF's sales compared to its rival private companies, forcing them to also lower their prices. Mosconi also reduced the price of kerosene and agrochemical to contribute to the development of the interior regions of Argentina.

The Institute of Petroleum (Instituto del Petróleo) was created on December 30, 1929, and directed by Ricardo Rojas, the rector of the UBAmarker (University of Buenos Aires). Foreseeing conflicts with US private companies, Mosconi proposed an agreement with the Sovietmarker state company Iuyamtorg, which was to allow Argentina to import 250,000 tons of petroleum each year, paid by trade with leather, wool, tannin and sheep. The agreement was to be made official in September 1930, along with the complete nationalization of oil resources. But on September 6, 1930, Yrigoyen was deposed by a military coup headed by José Félix Uriburu, and the project was withdrawn.

In 1965 YPF discovered oil on Puesto Hernández, leading to the ascension of Rincón de los Saucesmarker (Neuquén Province), which has been declared the national energy capital due to its having 50% of the Argentinian national reserves of oil and natural gas.


YPF was privatized in 1991, one of many such controversial actions by Carlos Menem. The state retained a 5% share, which it sold in 1999 to Repsol S.A., a Spanish multinational corporation that later launched a successful bid to take over the entire company. The union of the two companies took on the name Repsol YPF; former YPF operations represent almost 50% of its production.

Creation of Enarsa

In 2004, President Néstor Kirchner created Enarsa or Energía Argentina Sociedad Anónima, an energy company of which the state controls 53%. Enarsa recently joined efforts with Venezuelanmarker state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela.



  1. Felipe Pigna, Los Mitos de la historia argentina, 3, ed. Planeta Historia y Sociedad, 2006, p.152
  2. Pablo Villegas N., Mosconi, el petróleo y la independencia integral de Sudamérica, Bolpress, 19 June 2007
  3. Felipe Pigna, 2006, p.153
  4. Felipe Pigna, 2006, p.154
  5. Felipe Pigna, 2006, p.155
  6. Felipe Pigna, 2006, p.156
  7. Rincón de los Sauces, national capital of energy

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