Argentina closes energy ministry, institutes new taxes

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As part of broad austerity measures to address a severe monetary crisis, gas-rich Argentina is dismantling its energy ministry and levying duties on all its exports.

Following an announcement from President Mauricio Macri that the country will seek a faster disbursement of $50 billion from the International Monetary Fund, the peso lost about half its value against the US dollar, pressuring the economy.

Macri is reported to have told the nation that austerity is the country´s only option to fend off insolvency. He is reported to have defended the re-imposition of export taxes, which were a hallmark of the previous government.

Reports say that the new taxes will affect all of the country’s exports, including oil and biodiesel.

The dismantling of the energy ministry is part of a plan to eliminate eight ministries. These ministries will transition to secretariats as they had been before Macri took office.

With oil reserves of 2.4 billion barrels, Argentina is said to have the fourth-largest oil reserves in South America. It was said to have a total crude output of 619,000 bopd in 2016. Its natural gas reserves total 350 bcm (12.4 tcf).