The UK is scheduling to invest in Argentina’s controversial oil shale industry utilizing a £1bn export finance commitment envisioned to support green energy, according to government documents seen by the Guardian.
UK Export Finance, the government’s foreign credit agency, assured in 2017 to offer loan guarantees up to £1bn to help UK companies spread their expertise, including in “infrastructure, green energy and healthcare”.
Instead official archives, released through a freedom of information request, have exposed the government’s plan to prioritise maintenance for major oil companies, including Shell and BP, which are fracking in Argentina’s vast Vaca Muerta shale cores.
One government memo, exposed by Friends of the Earth, said that while Argentina’s clean energy sector was rising, it was “Argentina’s huge shale resources that proposition the greatest potential” for the UK.
The briefing note was primed before a key meeting between the UK government’s trade diplomat to Latin America, the UK ambassador to Argentina and Argentina’s energy minister in February this year.
Tony Bosworth, a campaigner at Friends of the Earth, stated: “With the world hurtling towards disastrous climate change, and parliament announcing a climate emergency, it’s outrageous that the UK government is remaining to back huge fossil fuel developments abroad.”
Separate archives, also uncovered by Friends of the Earth, exposed that there had been no fewer than 13 meetings between the UK and oil companies working in Argentina’s Vaca Muerta hydrocarbon reservoir from the beginning of last year.
The companies comprise Shell, Andina Resources, Phoenix Global Resources and Pan American Energy (PAE), a subsidiary of BP and more.