Early 2012 Argentina’s oil industry was controlled by Repsol, the Spanish energy giant, through YPF, its local subsidiary. By the end of the year, this was no longer the case.
By then President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner’s leftist government had nationalised the oil sector, stealing YPF with the stroke of a pen.
The experience for investors in Repsol was an elevator drop so jarring I suspect many were left with their spines sticking out the top of their heads.
We can all scoff and laugh at the poor bastards and say, “Well, what did you expect investing into yet another Latin American backwater grasping at fading socialist ideas in order to stay in power?”
And to be sure, the third world loves to dance to Marxist music, but I’ve more than a sneaky suspicion, in fact I’m pretty convinced we’re going to see it, and not just from crazy bitches south of the equator. Resource nationalism, that is.
The problem for oil companies, and indeed resource companies of many stripes, is that they have to go where the deposits happen to be. Contrast this to industries such as manufacturing, where factories can be built wherever wages are lowest, you simply can’t outsource energy production.
One Thing Leads to Another
In 2016 I wrote an article arguing that we’d see what I called the rise of the “Strong Men” where I suggested the following:
Now I could write an essay on the ramifications but let me provide you with 3 important things to watch out for:
1. Political cohesion and stability can no longer be relied upon as politics becomes inward looking with everything from trade deals to central bank swap lines being renegotiated or cancelled altogether.
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