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News Bulletin of the Argentine Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Worship 26

No. 272

The Present Oil Policy of Argentina

The discovery of a new oil well—recently communicated by the Department of Fiscal Oil Fields—in the district of Barrancas, in the Province of Mendoza, is of the greatest importance for our country. It is affirmed that this oil well produces daily roughly half a million litres of oil, and is 2,720 metres in depth. The figure mentioned is exceptional for one well; it shows the importance of the oil reserves of the country and also the enormous possibilities afforded for the execution of the Five-Year Plan in this field. Oil production in 1946 amounted to 2,275,000 cubic metres, and according to the works foreseen in the Five-Year Plan, the national oil production in 1951 will total 3,575,000 cubic metres, that is, an increase of 1,500,000 cubic metres over the present yearly output.

A few days ago, on the premises of Fiscal Oil Fields, General Perón recalled the discovery of the first oil well in our country, some 40 years ago, and traced an outline of the history of the Argentine oil policy during the ceremony in which a bust of General Enrique Mosconi—first president of that department—was unveiled. The President of the Republic referred to the efforts made by the Argentine Government [Page 303] to encourage national economy, not only furthering the development of industry, transport and the utilisation of natural sources of wealth, but also “endeavouring to nationalise our production and our means of work, recovering them from foreign ownership and international monopolies”.

Further on, dealing with the problem of oil, the President stated that the only possible solution to compensate the 60% of fuel imported to cover that part of home consumption which our production cannot supply, is to increase it as far as possible, employing national elements sources of energy, especially hydraulic energy. The efforts of the Government of General Perón are directed to this end, and so is the exploitation of the coal mines of Rio Turbio, promoted in order to settle without loss of time the all-important problem of fuel.

The foresight of General Perón and of the men who have collaborated in the task of the utilisation of every source of motive power in the country and the scientific survey of 680,000 [600,000?] square kilometres of our territory, distribution in this area 314 oil wells—123 of which will be structural and the remaining 186 exploratory—are indispensable for our economic development and for our social welfare.

General Perón ended his speech with these words, summary of the position adopted by our government in face of the problem of fuel: “The Argentine oil policy must be based on the same principles on which all our economic policy is based: Maintenance of the Argentine sovereignty over the wealth of our subsoil; rational and scientific exploitation by the State. When the State recovers immediate and direct command over the property belonging to the Nation, it must not relinquish the privilege of administering it, nor share functions that defend interests other than those of all the Argentines”.

Giving a finishing touch to the favourable prospect in what regards a greater quantity of petroleum at the disposal of the requirements of home consumption, we must mention that a commercial treaty with Venezuela will shortly be concluded whereby, in exchange for foodstuffs sent by Argentina, that sister nation will send us, for a five year period, 1,500,000 tons of petroleum per year.

The importance of this treaty is evident, since it represents the breaking up of the powerful international oil pool and is a reaffirmation of the autonomy of our country, as also an evidence of our economic greatness, which has passed from the hands of foreign monopolist interests to serve the interests of our people and our country.

The measures adopted up to now by the Government of the Revolution and the agreements to be signed with several nations are achievements leading to the independence of Argentine economy, without which nothing can be attained, as General Perón stated in the Historic [Page 304] House of Tucumán, where our illustrious forefathers declared the political emancipation of our country on July 9, 1816.

  1. Copy transmitted to the Department with despatch 60, January 23, 1948, from Buenos Aires; received January 30.