Putin signs nuclear energy deal with Argentina

Sat Jul 12, 2014 5:19pm EDT
 
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By Alexei Anishchuk and Richard Lough

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a nuclear energy cooperation deal with Argentina on Saturday on a trip to bolster trade ties and strengthen Russia's influence in Latin America.

Putin's energy minister, Alexander Novak, told reporters in the Argentine capital that the Russian state atomic energy corporation, Rosatom, had made an offer to tender for the construction of two new nuclear power units in Argentina.

Novak said Rosatom could offer "comfortable" financial terms to Latin America's No. 3 economy, which has struggled to advance its nuclear energy program and lure foreign investors deterred by a raft of punishing capital and import controls.

"Rosatom is actively working here... and has already handed over its technical and commercial offer to our (Argentine) colleagues," Novak told reporters after talks between Putin and his Argentine counterpart, President Cristina Fernandez.

"There will be a tender this fall. Rosatom... is also ready to provide comfortable financial conditions (to Argentina)."

Fernandez said a Russian delegation would visit the so-called Vaca Muerta shale fields in the south of the country, adding that she hoped relations between the two countries would deepen further.

The Vaca Muerta field is thought to be one of the biggest shale reserves in the Western Hemisphere and could double Argentina's energy output within a decade. But it is in the early stage of development.

Putin made an unannounced stopover in Nicaragua after meeting Cuban President Raul Castro in Havana on Friday, the Kremlin said. He travels next to Brazil for bilateral talks and a summit of the emerging BRICS economies - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - on Tuesday and Wednesday.   Continued...

 
Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (R) shakes hands with her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at the Casa Rosada presidential palace in Buenos Aires July 12, 2014.   REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian