Spanish oil giant Repsol vowed Tuesday to fight for at least $10 billion (eight billion euros) in compensation after Argentina decided to expropriate its subsidiary YPF.
Brufau said the company would seek international arbitration over Argentina's decision to take over 51 percent of YPF, in which Repsol has a 57.4-percent stake.
Repsol would seek an amount at least equal to the value of its stake in YPF, which the firm estimates at $10.5 billion, the Repsol chief told a news conference.
"Repsol will launch all legal actions that are within its reach," Brufau promised, saying he had a wide range of options including constitutional, commercial and civil actions.
Repsol stock fell by 8.21 percent to 16.045 euros in early trade after Argentinian President Cristina Kirchner's announcement of the state takeover, which ignored warnings from the Spanish government.
Brufau denied Argentine charges that it has failed to invest enough in YPF, saying that it had poured $20 billion into YPF in addition to the $15 billion it paid to buy the subsidiary in 1999.
"The investments have always been much higher than the results," he said.
The Repsol boss accused Kirchner of taking the decision "as a way of hiding the economic and social crisis which Argentina is suffering."
He blamed that crisis on "a mistaken energy policy".
Argentina had run a campain of "harrassment" over past weeks so as to make the YPF share price fall and ease the expropriation at a bargain price, Brufau charged.
"It is not appropriate for a modern country, Argentina does not deserve this," he said of the takeover, which Repsol has described as "manifestly illegal and gravely discriminatory".
Spain's government denounced the decision as "hostile" and warned of a forceful response.
Argentina had "broken the climate of friendship" between the two countries, Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo told a news conference after a crisis meeting called Monday by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
Rajoy is expected to rally support for Spain as he attends an economic forum on Latin America in Mexico.
Spain will take "all measures it considers appropriate" to defend the interests of Repsol and Spanish businesses abroad, Industry Minister Jose Manuel Soria told the same news conference.
Front page headlines in Spain lambasted the Argentine takeover, many of them splashing a photograph of Kirchner announcing her decision with a picture of Evita Peron, the populous first lady of Argentina in the 1940s and 50s, in the background.
"Pillaging," headlined an editioral by the leading daily El Pais.
"The expropriation of 51 percent of YPF opens a conflict that will have grave consequences for Argentina," it said.
"It is not hard to predict that a YPF run by the group that governs Argentina will lose any possibility of making profits," it added, arguing that it would end up squandering the country's natural resources.
Centre-right daily El Mundo said: "Argentina deserves the reprisals that will be adopted because it has made a ridicule of international law, the right to free enterprise and ownership."
Source: AFP Global Edition