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Bloomberg: Russia’s Mitvol, Prosecutors Meet Over Sakhalin Contractors

By Torrey Clark

Oct. 5 (Bloomberg) — Russian Natural Resource Ministry official Oleg Mitvol met with the Prosecutor General’s Office as they investigate Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Sakhalin-2 contractors for illegal felling of trees to build oil and gas pipelines.

Mitvol gave the prosecutors evidence that Starstroi, a unit of Eni SpA, violated environmental laws by felling trees without permits and destroying the topsoil along the route of pipelines they’re building for the Shell project in Russia’s Far East, the ministry in Moscow said in an e-mailed statement today.

The contractor could get a warning or face criminal charges, the ministry said.

The oil and gas pipelines are key to Shell’s plan to export fuel all year round from the project, including natural gas cooled to a liquefied state for shipment by tanker to Asian consumers. Shell has contracted to sell most of its LNG output when production starts in 2008.

Sakhalin-2 is completely foreign-owned, with Shell holding 55 percent, Mitsui Co. 25 percent and Mitsubishi Co. 20 percent.

Mitvol is the deputy head of the Natural Resources Ministry’s environmental inspectorate.

To contact the reporter on this story: Torrey Clark in Moscow at [email protected] .

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