Falkland Islands

When the Pope met Queen Elizabeth on Thursday, there was one thing – doubtless to Argentine President Cristina Fernández’s great dismay – which was not on the agenda: the Falkland Islands (or, as the Argentine Pope might have called them, Las Malvinas).

As if to make up for that omission, Fernández ensured the disputed territory’s continued presence in Argentines’ minds by printing a map of the archipelago on a new 50 peso note (worth just over $6), with a stirring image of a gaucho who rose up against British rule in 1833 on the other side. Read more

Argentina's President Cristina FernandezWhen the latest episode in Argentina’s bond holdouts saga gathered steam towards the end of last year, there was some discussion on beyondbrics as to whether it could be described as Christina Fernández’s Falklands War: an act of defiance against neo-liberal Anglo-Saxons, presented as a defence of Argentina’s national interests but with the primary aim of distracting ordinary Argentines from a failure of government in Buenos Aires. Read more

Uh oh – here’s some news that will surely anger the Argentine government and add more fuel to the Falkland Islands dispute.

Rockhopper Exploration, an AIM-listed petroleum exploration company, has sold a 60 per cent share of its licenses to drill for oil in the North Falkland Basin near the Falkland Islands for $1bn to Premier Oil, a FTSE 250 company based in London. Read more

Falkland Oil and Gas Limited, the London-based, Aim-listed exploration company, has sold a share in its licences to drill for oil around the Falkland Islands to Edison International, a subsidiary of French energy group EDF. FOGL’s shares surged by as much as 9 per cent on Tuesday before falling back.

It brings a nice historical circularity to the Falklands dispute between the UK and Argentina. The islands, after all, were originally settled by French sailors from Saint Malo – hence their Spanish name, Islas Malvinas. Read more

Ooops, bad timing. Borders & Southern could hardly have chosen a diplomatically more delicate time to announce a “significant” discovery of gas in waters off the Falklands islands.

The announcement came just a week after Cristina Fernández announced the expropriation of 51 per cent of Spanish-controlled oil company, Repsol, which has sent shock waves both through the industry and European capitals, and which Mario Vargas Llosa, the Peruvian novelist, slammed as a “drunken binge of nationalistic jingoism”Read more

Operation dissuasion has begun. As promised last week Argentina said on Thursday it had sent letters to the London and New York Stock Exchanges urging them to demand full information from the AIM-listed junior companies exploring around the Falkland Islands and the companies involved with them about their “illegal” activities.

Though Argos Resources, Borders & Southern , Desire, Falkland Oil & Gas (FOGL) and Rockhopper are not listed in New York, a letter was sent to the New York Stock Exchange in case they considered listing there. Read more