BUENOS AIRES, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Chevron's shale natural gas operations in Argentina should start "as soon as possible" despite lawsuits in U.S. federal courts, the company said.
Spanish energy company Repsol in December filed a lawsuit in a federal court in New York accusing Chevron of securing the rights to develop Argentina's shale reserves illegally.
Ali Moshiri, director of Chevron's operations in Latin America, was quoted by Bloomberg News as saying the lawsuit was "irrelevant" to similar efforts with Argentina's YPF.
"Our goal is to start as soon as possible and the only thing we need is to push our teams to put a definitive agreement together as soon as possible," he said.
The U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration states that Argentina has the third-largest deposits of natural gas in the world.
Chevron, under the terms of an agreement reached this week with YPF, gets exclusive rights to negotiate terms for two natural gas fields in southwestern Argentina.
"Chevron is committed to make the expenditures in accordance with a development program, for an estimated 100 wells, in these areas during a 12-month period," YPF was quoted as saying.
The agreement with Chevron would be the first since the government nationalized YPF by seizing 51 percent of the shares from Repsol in April.