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Reuters: Russia govt seeks prosecutors’ help in oil disputes

Tue Oct 17, 2006 6:24am ET

MOSCOW, Oct 17 (Reuters) – Russia’s resources ministry will meet state prosecutors next month to discuss joint action in its campaign against ecological violations by international oil majors, it said on Tuesday.

The General Prosecutor’s Office has become one of the most feared institutions among Russia’s investment community since the demise of private oil company YUKOS (YUKO.MM: Quote, Profile, Research), in which prosecutors played a key role.

Oil majors such as Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research) and Exxon Mobil (XOM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) have come under pressure from the ministry in recent months over ecological and technical violations.

Analysts say the Kremlin aims to regain control over projects led by Shell and Exxon on the remote Pacific island of Sakhalin after the companies have made most of the investments to bring them on stream.

The companies have also infuriated Russian officials by running over their agreed budgets.

The ministry said the meeting would be in mid-November.

“It is expected that participants of the meeting will be briefed on the recent ecological violations, discovered in activities of some oil companies in Russia in the past months, and determine how prosecutors should react to these facts,” the statement said.

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