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Argentine energy ministry to be under economy ministry umbrella

Bnamericas Published: Monday, August 24, 2020
Argentine energy ministry to be under economy ministry umbrella

Argentina has confirmed the energy ministry will now come under the auspices of the economy ministry instead of the production ministry.

The decision was justified on the basis that the energy sector is key to macroeconomic development.

The change comes at the same time as lower chamber representative Darío Martínez takes the helm of the energy ministry from Sergio Lanziani. The new minister will take office during an event on Tuesday, according to state news agency Télam.

Martínez comes to the post with the mission of spurring Argentina’s dwindling hydrocarbons production, which was deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and underinvestment due to perceived political risk.

He will also make key decisions related to the end-user price freeze that is currently in place for both electric power and natural gas. While the government has hinted it has a plan to update prices after December 31, this could change given Argentina’s dire economic situation.

Martínez will occupy a strategic position within the administration, as he is close to both President Alberto Fernández and vice president Cristina Fernández.

He is also a representative from Neuquén province that hosts Argentina’s huge unconventional Vaca Muerta formation, which could take center stage during his tenure. In the lower chamber, Martínez chaired the energy committee.

The report said it is unclear whether Martínez will make changes to the three key under secretariats in his charge: hydrocarbons, electric power and energy planning.

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