The Nation’s Secretary of Energy announced the 10-year extension (until 2037) to Oleoductos del Valle (OLDELVAL) to transport oil from Neuquén and the creation of a new pipeline, connecting the town of ‘Allen, in Río Negro, with Puerto Rosales station in Bahía Blanca. This involves the construction of a pipeline parallel to the current one, which will allow transport to increase from 32,000 cubic meters per day to 72,000, the equivalent of 452,000 barrels per day. OLDELVAL, the company responsible for the largest oil spill in the Rio Negro territory, is responsible for transporting 45% of the oil in Argentina and 82% of the crude oil extracted from the Neuquén Basin.
This project is in addition to the reactivation of the trans-Andean oil pipeline “OTASA”, which exports some 100,000 b/d to Chile, and the contested creation by YPF of the pipeline with access to the sea in the Gulf of San Matías, in Rio Negro. This last project aims to connect the pumping station of OLDELVAL on Lake Pellegrini to the port of Sierra Grande, Punta Colorada, crossing more than 650 km of the territory of the Rio Negro, with a capacity to fill a ship of 2.5 million barrels in an estimated time of 5 days.
Contrary to the rise in energy prices and the resulting drop in consumption in the domestic market, Argentina’s total oil production recorded a year-on-year increase of 13.6% in June for reach an average of 92,600 cubic meters per day, according to a report by the General Mosconi Institute. Extraction of unconventional crude, coming almost entirely from the Neuquén basin, increased by 51.5% to reach an average of 38,000 m3/d. This plan to increase exports shows that they only seek to increase the profits of the oil companies and to get the oil out of the country as quickly as possible, regardless of the ecological consequences produced by the activity.
Oldelval or nationalization under workers’ control
Oldelval’s main shareholder is YPF, but Exxonmobil Exploration Argentina, Chevron Argentina, Pan American Energy, Pluspetrol, Tecpetrol and Pampa Energía are also part of it; thus being the main oil carrier of the country
Recall that in December 2021 at the Medanito pumping station, 23 kilometers from Catriel, in the province of Río Negro, the greatest ecological disaster occurred, spilling millions of liters of oil on the ancestral territory, for which OLDELVAL’s response was to put a “pelopincho” to contain the spill, which for days contaminated the soil around Catriel.
Both the Frente de Todos and the MPN de Gutiérrez in Neuquén and the JSRN de Carreras in Rio Negro celebrate this expansion as well as the re-commissioning of the Trans-Andean gas pipeline or the creation of the much disputed oil pipeline to Punta Colorada. , with very high risks of contamination of the Gulf and omitting the rejection of indigenous communities and the general population.
The national government plans and promotes the creation of new export outlets for all the oil and gas extracted from Patagonian soil, increasing the possibility of environmental disasters produced by these companies, with the sole purpose of guaranteeing their profits and paying the debt left by the macrismo and that the Frente de Todos administered through the adjustment towards the workers.
Oil companies are devastating natural resources, destroying the environment, polluting soils, taking millions of dollars overseas and are responsible for social crimes like the recent fire at the New American Oil-NAO refinery , located in the Plaza Huincul petrochemical park in Neuquén, where 3 workers died. The company had already been bullied weeks before by the under-secretary for the environment, for failing to respond to a series of irregularities that had been detected during the last inspection, showing clear responsibility for the fateful fire
It is necessary that all energy production be administered by the state, controlled by its own workers, with the communities of origin, the population and the universities. An administration of this type can plan a transition to cleaner energy, when the resources of this country would cease to be at the service of capitalist interests, thus curbing the extractivist and polluting plunder that companies and governments apply to Argentine territory.