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The Sun: Attack on Shell in the USSR: THE Kremlin sensationally blasted British oil giant ROYAL DUTCH SHELL yesterday.

Saturday 9 December 2006

It accused the firm of wrecking Russia’s environment and flouting the law.

The scathing comments by natural resources minister Yuri Trutnev are his latest dig against a foreign fuels group.

Previously, British oil firm BP came in for criticism.

Analysts suspect there may be a campaign to deliberately boost state-controlled oil and gas firms ROSNEFT and GAZPROM.

Yesterday Mr Trutnev singled out Shell’s Sakhalin-2 project. 

He said: “More than 10 per cent of oil produced in Russia is extracted in excess of the numbers agreed. All of this is damaging the ecology. Sakhalin-2 has become a shining example of this.” Mr Trutnev has been leading a crackdown on environmental and licensing violations — mainly targeting foreign oil groups.

He is a well-known figure and a possible successor to President Putin. Last night Shell said it declined to be dragged into the row.

A spokesman insisted any environmental impact was “temporary and reversible”.

Privately oil executives are becoming more frustrated with the Kremlin’s public comments.

Russian prosecutors have already threatened to withdraw licences from two gas projects by TNK-BP, a joint venture involving the British firm.

BP and Shell have invested more than £10billion in Russia. Many Britons hold shares in the companies via their pension funds.

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