Overview and role of the EITI
Argentina’s economy is not highly dependent on the extractive sector, which contributed 3.84% to total government revenues, 10.8% to exports and 4.2% to national GDP in 2018. Nonetheless, the country hosts the second largest shale gas deposits and the fourth largest unconventional oil resources in the world, mainly in the Vaca Muerta formation in the south of the country. Argentina also holds the third largest lithium reserves in the world, and the number of active projects continues to grow. The development of these resources requires large and continued investments in the coming decade, as well as the enhancement of a governance framework for the extractive sector.
Argentina’s national oil company, YPF, leads exploration, development and production activities for crude oil, natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas. The company is a leader in exploratory and production projects of non-conventional oil and gas in Latin America.
Despite its important reserves of lithium and copper, Argentina’s mining sector is still at an early stage of development and is currently witnessing increased international attention and investment. Social and political conflict around metallic large-scale mining and its environmental effects has resulted in several provinces banning certain mining techniques, such as open-pit mining. The recent construction of a gas pipeline in the south of the country will strengthen exports and increase national consumption.
Argentina is using the EITI platform to strengthen accountability and transparency across the value chain of the upstream extractive sector, strengthen systematic disclosure of information and shed light on revenue allocations at the subnational level. Currently, five provinces have joined EITI implementation: Catamarca, Río Negro, Salta, Santa Cruz, and San Juan, and some information is already publicly available on the EITI Argentina website. Moreover, Argentina is strengthening the systematic disclosure of information through SIACAM, the Information System Open to the Community on Mining Activity.
Argentina was one of the 2023 EITI Chair Awards “for its collaboration with federal and provincial governments to ensure timely collection and publication of extractives data through its national platform SIACAM”.
Economic contribution of the extractive industries
- to government revenue
- to exports
- to GDP
- to employment
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Argentina’s 2020-2021 EITI Report included a series of recommendations to improve EITI implementation in the country, in particular, to strengthen the systematic disclosure of information and the collection of information for EITI reporting and subnational reporting. EITI Argentina has improved its website including data updated in real-time and a better disaggregation of information, together with accessible visualisations of extractive data.
Today, five provinces have joined the EITI, one of the recommendations in Argentina’s most recent Validation. The joining of Catamarca, Río Negro, Salta, San Juan and Santa Cruz increases the granularity of information and strengthens the governance of the sector at the subnational level at a moment when many companies are seeking to invest in Argentina to develop its growing mining sector.
Argentina’s oil and gas sector is governed by the Hydrocarbons Law and managed by the Energy Secretariat (Secretaría de Energía) under the Ministry of Infrastructure, including exploration, exploitation, industrialisation, transportation and commercialisation activities. Argentina has a federal regime, and the National Constitution stipulates that "the provinces have the original ownership of the resources". This provision is regulated in the "Short Law", which provides provinces with the jurisdiction of hydrocarbon fields.
Oil and gas licenses are granted by the national Energy Secretariat in accordance with the Hydrocarbons Law and by provincial governments. The national government issues licenses for fields located more than 12 nautical miles offshore, while provincial governments issue licenses for fields within their territories. Both levels of government are responsible for the ratification and fiscalisation of hydrocarbon contracts.
Mining licenses are granted by provincial governments through concessions. Concessions are issued on perpetuity on the condition that annual payments are made.
Some oil and gas contracts are published via the Energy Secretariat but tend to have commercially sensitive clauses omitted. Several contracts are also published via resourcecontracts.org. Disclosure of mining contracts is not comprehensive, and provincial governments are wary of disclosing their fiscal terms.
Companies based in Buenos Aires are registered via the Public Registry of Commerce of the City of Buenos Aires ("IGJ"). This public registry requires all companies to their beneficial owners. In April 2020, the Federal Administration of Public Revenues ("AFIP") approved a new resolution requiring the registration of the beneficial owners of a wide range of legal entities, including commercial partnerships, associations and investment funds.
The new AFIP regulations represent an improvement in achieving beneficial ownership transparency. However, the confidential nature of the information submitted by companies represents a major obstacle to meeting the disclosure requirements of the EITI Standard.
In 2021, Argentina joined Opening Extractives, a global programme aiming to improve the quality, availability accessibility and use of beneficial ownership data. Argentina’s participation in the programme is supported by the Ministry of Productive Development and is expected to strengthen beneficial ownership disclosures in the country’s extractive sector.
In November 2023, a multi-stakeholder effort to improve the disclosure of beneficial ownership information with the support of Opening Extractives, suggested modifications to the regulatory framework of Argentina, demanding beneficial ownership information to new companies interested in participating in oil and gas and mining activities.
Argentina’s 2020-2021 EITI Report included subnational information for the first time. Argentina now makes its EITI Report available through its EITI website. Information disclosed online has complemented subnational information, including licenses, state-owned companies, production and revenue collection
Argentina-EITI is administered by the Argentina Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) which is comprised of 13 members. The MSG is co-chaired by the Secretaría de Energía, representing the Ministry of Economy, and by the Secretaría de Minería, representing the Ministry of Productive Development. The national secretariat, also known as the Secretaría Técnica Nacional (STN), coordinates technical operations.
Argentina achieved a moderate overall score (73 points) in implementing the 2019 EITI Standard in June 2022.