The US State Department spokesman Mark Toner condemned Argentina’s nationalization of the oil company, saying his country views the act with negativity.
Toner also warned that the move would ultimately hurt Argentina’s economy.
However, the Argentine government has responded firmly to the criticism, arguing that the decision was taken based on the country’s national interests.
“The project aims at certain states’ rules to lead a strategic company. We do not govern on behalf of the US and the Spanish people,” Argentine Interior Minister Florencio Randazzo said.
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez has slammed the company for failing to re-invest in local oil and gas production, which forced Buenos Aires to pay more than USD 9 billion to import fuel last year.
On Monday, Fernandez announced the decision to reclaim YPF, which was formerly a state-owned Argentine oil company, at a meeting with her cabinet and provincial governors. She said that Argentina had to take back the oil company since it is the only nation in Latin America “that does not manage its natural resources.”
The move to declare YPF Gas a public utility by taking 51 percent of its shares is an extension of the takeover of YPF Oil Company, the major subsidiary of Repsol.
Repsol President Antonio Brufau said on Tuesday that the company would take legal action against Argentina, seeking compensation of about $10 billion.
Meanwhile, the Spanish government has also criticized the move by claiming that Argentina is taking a risk of becoming “an international pariah” if it takes control of the YPF, in which Repsol has a 57.4 percent stake.
Spain is Argentina’s largest foreign investor. Last year YPF, the main oil company in Argentina, announced a major find of 1 billion barrels of shale oil.