Putin and Cristina Fernández Discussed Exciting Potential for Cooperation
June 23, 2012 • 9:47AM

During their June 19 meeting at the G-20 summit in Mexico, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner mapped out several strategically important areas in which the two governments want to broaden their cooperation. This should drive the British Empire wild.

Putin also invited Fernández to use the occasion of the September 2013 G-20 meeting in Moscow—Russia is now the President of the G-20—to spend several days in Russia for a state visit to really get to know the country. Fernández invited Putin to visit Argentina as well.

According to yesterday's Russia Today, the two heads of state discussed hydrocarbons and nuclear energy, transportation and railroad development, and agriculture and agro-industry as key areas for greater cooperation. There are reportedly negotiations already going on in Moscow and Buenos Aires by relevant officials in each of these sectors.

Officials from Russia's Gazprom announced from Moscow that they intend to contact the new leadership of Argentina's recently-renationalized YPF oil firm to discuss a specific work plan for cooperation in the exploration, exploitation, and distribution of natural gas in Argentina, with the goal also of collaborating with YPF throughout the Mercosur (Common Market of the South) region, which includes Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay.

Gazprom is especially interested in working with Argentina to exploit the enormous Vaca Muerta shale gas deposit in the Patagonia, in offshore exploration of Argentina's continental shelf, and also in several joint oil projects inside Russia.

Cooperation in nuclear energy is also a top agenda item. Officials from Rosatom, Russia's nuclear energy agency, are already in discussions with leaders of Argentina's NASA, the agency that oversees reactor construction, as well as with the state-run technology company INVAP, to evaluate Russian participation in the building of the two new fourth-generation reactors that Argentina wants to build.

Crucial also is the invitation that Argentine officials have extended to Russia's state railroad company to participate in the modernization of Argentina's railroads. A delegation of Russian officials from that agency is expected to visit Argentina shortly to begin negotiations both with public and private sector leaders. Projects include improving and upgrading certain specific lines with new technolgies, as well as revitalizing the railroad machine shops that have been used historically to train and upgrade personnel. But large projects, such as a bi-oceanic railroad and construction of underground lines, are also on the agenda.

Putin would like Argentina to provide the technology and know-how to help develop Russian agriculture and beef industries, including breeding animals and marketing. Argentine technical and agro experts are already planning trips to Riazan and Smolensk to begin work in these areas. Argentine assistance in the processing and marketing of soybeans is another area of cooperation that has been discussed among business groups in both countries. Argentina is a key supplier of soy to Russia and China.