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Argentina (the Argentine Republic) is a federation of provinces sharing the southern cone of South America with Chile to the west. It borders Bolivia and Paraguay (north) and Brazil and Uruguay (east).
People had inhabited Argentina for over 50,000 years before the Spanish arrived in 1502. Spain took over the region, establishing the Governorate of Río de la Plata from 1549, which became part of the Viceroyalty of Peru and then, in 1776, the Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata.
Revolution in 1810 led to a Declaration of Independence in 1816 followed by civil war lasting until 1861 when the Argentine federation came into being. Immigrants from Europe, encouraged by the liberal economy, saw the new country become very wealthy. However, in 1930 a military coup caused political instability and then steady economic decline.
Neutral in both World Wars, in 1946 Juan Peron came to power, improving the economy. A coup led him to flee to Spain in 1955 and political instability returned, along with state terrorism from 1969 to 1983 when the military was forced out following defeat by the UK in the Falklands War.
The country experienced economic crisis and default in 2001. The economy improved but economic uncertainty returned in 2018. It is rich natural resources, diversified industries, and an export-oriented agricultural sector.
The Andes mountains form Argentina’s western border with Chile in which the Aconcagua summit in Mendoza province is the highest point at 6,959m. A number of rivers discharge into the Argentine Sea on the east, a shallow area of the Atlantic Ocean which forms a wide continental platform.
Oil production began in 1908 and the country has many sedimentary basins with most production coming from the Neuquen, Golf San Jorge, Noroeste, Cuyana and Austral Basins, which run north-south along the west side of the country. Output peaked sharply in 1998, then declined steeply through to 2010 but decline has now flattened off.
Large volumes of onshore oil have been found in the Vaca Muerta (Dead Cow) shale reservoir in Neuquen Province which is set to increase and, combined with growing volumes of NGLs, Globalshift believes these will sustain total oil production to at least 2030.
Gas production, from associated and non-associated fields in the same areas, peaked in 2005. Output is now unable to meet demand even with growing gas produced from shale beds, and gas must be sourced from neighbouring countries, particularly Bolivia, and as LNG.
Offshore oil and gas production from the Austral Basin in the Tierra del Fuego area in the far south began in 1989 but has not reached substantial levels. Argentina claims the Falklands Islands (Islas Malvinas) and the sedimentary basins surrounding them as its own, however, in the short and medium term the islands are expected to remain British territory.
Map and National Flag
Avenida 9 de Julio
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Land area (sq kms)
Oil prod (000s b/d)
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Oil cons (000s b/d)
Gas cons (bcm/yr)
Argentina is a federal republic. The President, elected by popular vote for a 4-year term is head of the military, can veto bills and appoints members of the Cabinet.
The Legislative branch has a bicameral Congress made up of the Senate and Deputy chambers.
The 72-member Chamber of Senators is elected to a 6-year term. The 257-member Chamber of Deputies is elected to a 4-year term. Seats are apportioned in the provinces by population.
A new Energy and Mining Ministry oversees the industry, divided into departments of energy planning, hydrocarbons, electricity and mining.
YPF is a vertically integrated energy company, engaged in the exploration and production of oil and gas, and the transportation, refining, and marketing of gas and petroleum products. It was re-nationalised in 2012.
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