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The Times: Western oil companies keep nervous eye on Yukos case: ‘If Shell were forced out of Russia…’

November 08, 2006
By David Robertson
 
WESTERN oil companies are monitoring the progress of a $50 billion (£26 billion) lawsuit against the Russian Federation as fears grow that the Kremlin is trying to gain more control over the country’s energy reserves, The Times has learnt.

TotalFinaElf, the world’s fourth-largest oil company, has sought advice from lawyers bringing the action on behalf of shareholders in Yukos, the Russian company that was bankrupted by the Kremlin. BP and Shell are also understood to be watching the case closely amid uncertainty about whether the Kremlin will honour exploration and development contracts signed with Western oil companies in the 1990s. 
 
Shell has come under pressure from the Russian Government over its $20 billion Sakhalin 2 project. The Kremlin is believed to want to renegotiate the revenue-sharing agreement that exists with Shell and is thought to be using environmental legislation to put pressure on the company. If Shell were forced out of Russia, it could follow Yukos’s example and claim compensation for the loss of its investment.

The Yukos shareholders are using a multinational trade agreement called the Energy Charter Treaty to demand compensation for the bankruptcy of the company, which they claim was politically motivated. GML, which owns 51 per cent of Yukos, is seeking $50 billion in compensation.
 
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,9072-2442854,00.html

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