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Oil & Gas Journal: Several Sakhalin-2 pipeline work sections halted

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 25 — Construction on several sections of the Sakhalin-2 onshore pipeline system has to be halted, according to Russian Natural Resource Minister Yury Trutnev, who said the project continues to violate environmental legislation.

“Here we need to consider halting construction on several parts of the pipeline. I do not think that it will be correct to halt the project entirely, but we have to demand compliance with environmental legislation,” Trutnev told reporters Oct 25.

He said Sakhalin-2 operator Sakhalin Energy has voluntarily halted work on construction in the southern Sakhalin district of Makarov due to noncompliance by some subcontractors with technical solutions and license agreement conditions. But Trutnev said his ministry also has concerns about the pace of construction in the Dolinsky district.

Trutnev took issue with a letter last week sent to the ministry by Sakhalin Energy CEO Ian Craig who said 98% of the violations had been corrected. Trutnev disagreed, “To be honest, I believe they have reversed the order of things. They did not correct 98% but have so far left 98% of the problems in place.”

Trutnev, who claimed the violations breached at least five articles of the Russian Criminal Code, said he has asked the state’s environmental watchdog Rosprirodnadzor to submit details on the violations to the Prosecutor General’s office within 2 weeks.

Meanwhile, the Russian government has extended its environmental audit of the project by a month, a decision announced by Trutnev on his visit to inspect the site. “At the end of November, we will finish our audit of Sakhalin-2,” he said.

The Sakhalin-2 project aims to develop offshore Piltun-Astokhsky and Lunskoye fields.

Sakhalin Energy is comprised of operator Shell Sakhalin Holdings BV, 55%; Mitsui Sakhalin Holdings BV, 25%; and Mitsubishi unit Diamond Gas Sakhalin 20%(OGJ Online Sept. 6, 2006).

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