Argentina’s government has brokered an agreement with oil unions and companies in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz aimed at calming labor conflicts and lowering costs, the energy ministry said Sept. 29.
The agreement follows a similar one reached in January in Neuquen province, home to the vast Vaca Muerta shale fields. That deal led to several investment announcements.
The agreement should make energy production more competitive and enhance production in the province, the statement said.
Leaders of three oil and gas workers’ unions in Santa Cruz signed the agreement along with the companies Compania General de Combustibles (CGC), which is part of the Corporacion America conglomerate, Argentina’s Roch and ENAP Sipetrol Argentina.
Reuters was not immediately able to contact the unions.
Since taking office in late 2015 Argentine President Mauricio Macri has worked to lower costs and attract investment, aiming to reverse a costly energy deficit dating to 2010.
Argentina holds the world’s second-largest shale fields, but development had been stalled by high labor costs and frequent conflicts. The oil unions in Santa Cruz are known for being particularly combative.