Argentina on Friday slapped a 20-year ban on four British oil companies from operating in the South American country due to their exploration near the Malvinas Islands.
The Malvinas Islands are also claimed by Britain, which calls the archipelago Falklands. The two countries fought a 74-day war in 1982, which ended with Britain retaining its control.
"The companies were banned because they performed hydrocarbon activities ... in zones close to the Malvinas Islands, without having obtained the permission issued by Argentina's competent authority," the government said Friday in a statement.
The banned companies are Borders and Southern Petroleum, Desire Petroleum, Argos Resources, and Falkland Oil and Gas.
The Argentine government accused the firms of "using an illegitimate license ... granted by the illegitimate government that controls those islands."
According to the Argentine government, it notified the companies of their situation in March 2012 and stressed its intention to take all legal and administrative action to "defend its rights."