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BBC News: Moscow to rule on BP gas licence

Last Updated: Friday, 1 June 2007, 09:05 GMT 10:05 UK 
 
Russian authorities are meeting to decide whether to withdraw a licence for BP’s joint venture in the Kovykta gas field in East Siberia.

Analysts expect that TNK-BP will be stopped from operating by the licensing agency, Rosnedra.

But reports suggest Moscow may postpone the decision until after next week’s G8 Summit and the Russian Economic Forum.

The dispute is seen by some as the Kremlin’s latest attempt to gain control of Russia’s energy supplies.

Court bid

Russian authorities claim TNK-BP is not producing enough gas from the Kovykta field.

They say that under the terms of the licence, Kovykta should have been producing nine billion cubic metres of gas per year by 2006.

It is currently processing less than 2.5 billion cubic metres.

But TNK-BP says that it cannot produce any more because the local region does not require additional supplies and it has been denied an export licence.

The licence for the gas field is held by Rusia Petroleum, which is 63% owned by TNK-BP.

The other half of TNK-BP is owned by the Russian group Alfa Access Renova.

Earlier this week an arbitration court judge in Irkutsk threw out attempts by TNK-BP to stop authorities seizing the licence.

The judge said the case was outside the court’s jurisdiction.

Last year Russian energy giant Gazprom secured a majority stake in a similarly large Russian oil and gas field formerly led by Royal Dutch Shell.

Shell and its partners granted Gazprom control of the Sakhalin 2 project after authorities refused to grant them the necessary environmental certificates.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6711041.stm

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