Spanish oil group Repsol surged on the stock market Tuesday as investors hailed news of a draft $5 billion (3.7-billion-euro) compensation deal over Argentina's 2012 seizure of the company's YPF subsidiary.
President Cristina Kirchner stunned the international financial community in April 2012 when she ordered the nationalisation of Repsol's 51-percent owned YPF.
The expropriation, which Kirchner blamed on Repsol's failure to make agreed investments in the firm, soured relations between Argentina and Spain and sparked an international chorus of outrage including from Spain's European Union partners.
On Monday, however, Argentina's government said it had struck a preliminary deal with Spain in talks in Buenos Aires, news that sent Repsol shares up 3.74 percent to 19.14 euros in late morning trade in Madrid.
"We have reached a preliminary agreement on compensation for the expropriation of the 51-percent shareholder stake in YPF in April 2012, subject to the ratification by Repsol's highest governing bodies," Argentina's government said in a statement.
Sources close to the matter said the agreed compensation amounted to $5 billion in Argentine government bonds.
The deal stipulated the withdrawal of legal actions underway, Argentina said.
After the YPF grab, Repsol filed a complaint against Argentina with a World Bank arbitration panel and sued in a New York court seeking an undetermined amount of damages.
The YPF compensation agreement was reached between the governments of Argentina, Spain and Mexico, whose state-owned Pemex owns large a stake in Repsol. YPF and Repsol executives were also present, the Argentine government said.
Repsol released a statement saying the outline agreement would be submitted to its board of directors on Wednesday. The board "will analyze and resolve as it deems appropriate in the sole interest of the company and its shareholders".
Settlement of the legal tangle could help to lure investment into the vast Vaca Muerta shale oil and gas field in Argentina, discovered by YPF in 2010.
Foreign investors have shown concern about Argentina's interventionist economic policies since its 2002 sovereign debt default and a threat by Repsol to sue future partners of YPF.