Argentina-Russia’s Joint Pipe Plant in Siberia to Launch Production in 2021 – Ambassador
"Tenaris and Severstal will build a welded pipe plant to produce Oil Country Tubular Goods pipe products in Siberia’s Surgut area … The plant will launch production in 2021, but will reach full capacity in 2024," Lagorio said.
The plans to build a welded pipe plant in West Siberia were first announced last year. The project requires an investment of $240 million. Russia’s steel giant, Severstal, will own 51 percent of the plant, while Tenaris will have a 49 percent interest. Tenaris is an international company that first originated in Argentina, where it still has the facilities for the production of seamless steel tubes.
Russia to Provide Maintenance Service for Helicopters Bought by Argentina
Russia will provide maintenance services for the Mi-171E helicopters acquired by Argentina and the respective agreement has already been reached, Ricardo Lagorio said.
"We are interested, but it is not on our plan because we do not have the budget. What we have just agreed on is that we are going to do the maintenance of these helicopters, there is already an agreement to make the maintenance of those helicopters with Russia," Lagorio said when asked whether Buenos Aires plans to purchase more weapons from Russia.
It is still unclear whether Russia will set up a maintenance center in Argentina or will just send specialists or components to its Latin American partner, the ambassador added.
In 2011, Argentina purchased two Russian Mi-171E helicopters to use them in air operations in Antarctica. The helicopters received positive feedback from pilots and the Argentinian Defense Ministry regarding their technical characteristics and reliability.
Argentina Puts Off Plans on Joint NPP With Russia Due to Economic Problems
Argentina must shelve plans on the joint construction of a nuclear power plant (NPP) with Russia due to domestic economic difficulties, but it is still interested in the venture, Ricardo Lagorio said.
Evgeny Pakermanov, the head of Rusatom Overseas — part of the Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation — told Sputnik earlier in the month that Russia and Argentina were mulling the option of jointly constructing floating and ground low-power NPPs.
"We have just finalized a very successful agreement, but Argentina has been in a very critical economic moment. These plans have not been dealt with because of the economic and financial matters and that would be the case for the near future. It is still in consideration, still of an interest. It might just have to wait a little bit more," Lagorio said.
In early December 2018, Russia and Argentina signed a strategic document on partnership in the peaceful use of nuclear energy on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. The construction of a floating NPP and a high-power nuclear plant was mentioned, apart from other topics.
Argentina, Russia to Hold Next Session of Economic Commission This Year
Argentina and Russia aim to convene the next session of their bilateral economic and trade commission via a videoconference before the end of 2020, Argentine Ambassador said.
The session of the bilateral commission was initially scheduled to be held at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, but the event has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We have the mixed commission on economics that gets together once a year, they are planning in the near future not to meet [but] are trying to make a videoconference … Definitely, before the end of the year, that would happen because we cannot have a year of void meetings," Lagorio said.
In the next session, the partners will discuss upgrading their trade ties to the paradigm of the 21st century, such as nuclear energy and renewables, according to the ambassador.
Moreover, the sides will also touch upon Russia’s offer on possible uranium mining in Argentina with the use of modern environmentally friendly technologies.
"The uranium matter is very important because we are adding a 21st century oriented bilateral issue to our mutual relationship," Lagorio noted.
In January 2018, Moscow and Buenos Aires signed a memorandum of understanding on uranium mining in Argentina. In late 2018, Rosatom CEO Alexey Likhachev said that Argentina had offered the corporation to join a uranium mining project in the South American country and share its technologies with Buenos Aires.
The signed memorandum envisages the bilateral cooperation on uranium mining with the use of the in-situ leaching method. The investments are to reach $250 million.
Russia’s Rolling Stock Plant in Argentina to Launch Production in 2 Years
The production of rolling stock at the Mechita railway cluster by Russia’s Transmasholding International (TMH) is expected to commence in two or two and a half years, Ricardo Lagorio said.
"In two or two and a half years, the wagon production will be started. We highlight the goal of the company to create an industrial railway hub capable of providing solutions in the production and repair of locomotives, freight cars and passenger cars, both electric and diesel, for the railway market, national and regional," Lagorio said.
The Russian rolling stock giant, TMH, previously took a private initiative to repair a train garage in Mechita, located in the province of Buenos Aires. The depot site has been abandoned since 2011 but was reopened in 2018 due to Russia’s investment.
The new plant in Argentina, which is set to be 8,800 square meters (94,722 square feet) will be used for assembling and manufacturing rolling stock and will create up to 1,200 direct and indirect jobs, according to TMH.
Argentina’s Ambassador Says Optimistic About Buenos Aires Complying With Debt Deal
Argentine Ambassador to Russia Ricardo Lagorio said that he is optimistic about Buenos Aires complying with a new deal restricting its bond debt amid an economic recession in the country.
Earlier in the week, the Argentine Economy Ministry said that it had reached an agreement with key private creditors on restructuring its $65 billion debt, which would help prevent a default.
"I am very optimistic because the president [Alberto Fernandez] and the government had a very good deal in spite of all what was going on in Argentina and the world. That, I think, makes the deal much more interesting and important because we are in the midst of the worst the crisis we all went through," Lagorio.
Argentina is willing to pay its debt in a manner most sustainable for its economy, the ambassador noted.
"The philosophy underlining this negotiation is not that we cannot pay, but we want to pay in a sustainable manner. There is a different paradigm. Not that we do not want to pay or we cannot pay. We want to pay, but when we can pay," Lagorio added.
Argentina has always been a default-prone country having suffered a major default in 2001 and a minor in 2014. Over recent years, Buenos Aires was also rocked by a currency crisis and economic depression. After failing to find common ground with private bondholders, which include US investment management giant BlackRock, the Argentinian government in April laid out a proposal to restructure its debt. The talks were dragging on for months before the sides managed to reach an agreement.