Indigenous Mapuche communities demanding cash payments and blocking oil wells in Argentina’s Vaca Muerta area are threatening the long delayed development of the world’s second-largest shale fields, oil companies say. Since the beginning of the year the Mapuche have cut off access to 14 wells in the Loma de la Lata field, one of only two shale fields currently producing in the Belgium-sized Vaca Muerta area, state-run YPF said in an e-mailed statement. YPF, Argentina’s largest oil company, spent 55 million pesos ($3 million) on payments to a Kaxipayiñ Mapuche community leader last year, more than double the payments in 2014, a company source said. The conflict is intensifying as President Mauricio Macri prioritizes attracting energy investment to develop the area and end Argentina’s reliance on imported energy. “It affects us a lot,” YPF Chairman Miguel Gutierrez said of the Mapuche conflict in a recent […]