Page last updated at 16:23 GMT, Thursday, 25 February 2010

Spanish oil firm Repsol to drill near Falkland Islands

The Ocean Guardian oil platform arrived this week

Spanish oil company Repsol is to drill for oil in an area near the Falkland Islands.

It will drill about 200 miles off Argentina's coast by December, "well within Argentinean waters," a spokesman told the BBC.

The move comes as UK oil companies begin to search for oil in the Falklands, despite strong opposition from Argentina.

An oil platform started drilling in Falklands territorial waters this week.

The platform, the Ocean Guardian, has been towed 8,000 miles from the Cromarty Firth in Scotland.

Repsol said it would explore for oil in a "few" wells in the area.

The spokesman said the fields were about 150 to 200 miles west of where the Ocean Guardian is, which is under licence to UK firm Desire Petroleum.

Last year, Repsol bought the Argentine company YPF - the biggest private oil and gas company in Latin America.

Oil row

Argentina claims sovereignty over the Falkland Islands. It invaded them in 1982, before a UK taskforce seized back control in a short war that claimed the lives of 649 Argentine and 255 British service personnel.

Leaders of 32 Latin American and Caribbean countries at a summit in Mexico unanimously backed Argentina over the oil row.

Argentina has formally asked the United Nations to bring the UK into talks over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.

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