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Demonstrators in Buenos Aires on Monday hold up a banner that reads in Spanish 'We are going for all YPF,' in support of a bill proposed by Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez to expropriate 51 per cent of the shares of YPF oil company that is controlled by Spain's Repsol.

Associated Press

Argentine Planning Minister Julio De Vido approached Brazil and its state-run oil company Petrobras on Friday to seek greater investments in its energy sector and collaboration with YPF, which Argentina seized from Spain's Repsol.

Mr. De Vido also said Friday after a meeting with Brazil's energy minister, Edison Lobao, in Brasilia that he was optimistic Petrobras would come to an agreement with the provincial government of Neuquen, which suspended its exploration rights.

Mr. Lobao said during a news conference following the meeting that Petrobras would invest all that it could in Argentina, which he said would amount to roughly $500-million in 2012, unchanged from 2011.

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Petrobras has budgeted total investments of $224-billion through 2015, most of which will go toward developing Brazil's recently discovered deepwater subsalt reserves.

The provincial government of Neuquen revoked Petrobras exploration rights on the grounds that it was not investing sufficiently to comply with its development commitment for the concession.

Mr. Lobao said Brazil accounted for 8 per cent of Argentina oil and gas production and could, over time, expand its production to account for 10 per cent to 15 per cent of Argentina's output, as Mr. De Vido is seeking.

The Argentine government of President Cristina Fernandes announced earlier this week it would expropriate a 51-per-cent controlling stake in YPF from Spain's Repsol, which unleashed condemnation from the international community.

Mr. De Vido is the temporary government-appointed administrator of YPF.

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