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The Wall Street Journal: Russia Seeks Halt To Sakhalin Work Citing Mudslides

By a WALL STREET JOURNAL Staff Reporter
August 4, 2006

Russia’s Natural Resources Ministry called on a consortium led by Royal Dutch Shell PLC to suspend pipe-laying work at a giant oil and liquefied-natural-gas project on Sakhalin, citing possible mudslides on the Pacific island.

The statement came as the ministry began a monthlong audit of the Sakhalin II project, where negotiations have stalled between the Sakhalin Energy consortium and OAO Gazprom on the state-run natural-gas monopoly’s efforts to acquire a stake. That deal is seen as the Kremlin’s latest bid to ratchet up its control of the energy sector.

The ministry said it received a report that found the pipeline was in danger of being damaged by mudslides where it meets the coast and traverses the hundreds of rivers and streams that cross the island.

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