May 4 - Argentina's congress has passed a bill to nationalise the YPF energy company, which is controlled by Spain's Repsol. Andrew Potter reports.
Celebrations outside Argentina's congress building, after a decision likely to increase tensions with Spain. Argentina's lower house voted overwhelmingly to nationalise YPF, the country's biggest oil company. Trouble is, a majority stake in YPF is controlled by Spain's Repsol. Daniel Filmus is an Argentinian congressman. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CONGRESSMAN DANIEL FILMUS, SUPPORTER OF BILL, SAYING: "We're growing a lot so we're consuming a lot more. To keep up with this growth, we have to show that YPF in the hands of the state is much more efficient, produces a lot more and it is enough to have the possibility to have the powerfully industrial country we deserve." YPF was privatised in the 1990s. Its nationalisation has been driven by Argentina's combative president Cristina Kirchner. She argues Repsol didn't invest enough to boost YPF's oil and natural gas production, meaning the company has failed to keep up with growth. Repsol denies the claims, and the forced takeover has enraged the Spanish government and drawn stinging criticism from the European Commission. But Kirchner's message has struck a chord with many in Argentina, who remain suspicious of foreign companies and blame free-market policies for the country's financial collapse in 2001. Andrew Potter, Reuters