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Ex-Shell executive named Argentina energy minister

25 Nov 2015 21:27 GMT
Ex-Shell executive named Argentina energy minister

Buenos Aires, 25 November (Argus) — Argentina´s president-elect Mauricio Macri named former Shell Argentina chief executive Juan Jose Aranguren as his energy minister, part of a new cabinet of ministers that highlights Macri´s market-oriented approach.

Macri has upgraded the energy portfolio from the current energy secretariat structure under the planning ministry.

He also named former central bank chief Alfonso Prat-Gay to be the next finance and treasury minister.

Aranguren and Prat-Gay will be two of Macri's six-member economic cabinet that also includes labor, production, transport and agriculture.

The day after he won a 22 November run-off election, Macri said he would not appoint a powerful economic minister as had been the norm under outgoing president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her late husband and predecessor, Néstor Kirchner.

Aranguren has long been an outspoken opponent of interventionist energy policies under Fernández and Kirchner, and Shell itself was the target of government-backed boycotts and protests.

Macri has said that his energy minister will help him decide whether to retain Miguel Galuccio as chief executive of state-controlled oil company YPF. Aranguren has criticized Galuccio's management of the company in the past as tainted by politics.

The former Shell executive faces the challenge of increasing shale-rich Argentina´s oil and natural gas production by stimulating foreign investment at a time of low international crude prices.

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