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Bloomberg: Russia to Prepare Bill Limiting Foreign Ownership Within Months

By Torrey Clark

Jan. 27 (Bloomberg) — Russia will submit to parliament a bill that limits foreign ownership in strategic industries, such as oil, gas, metals and defense, in the “coming months,” Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said today.

The bill will be “clear, fully balanced and answer all questions that arise in daily practice,” Medvedev said in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos today. “The worst thing in business is opacity and unpredictability.”

President Vladimir Putin in May 2005 ordered the government to draft legislation spelling out restrictions on foreign ownership in industries that relate to state security, such as infrastructure, defense, the so-called natural monopolies of power and natural gas and strategic mineral resource deposits.

Russia has tightened its grip on its natural resource wealth, which underpins the country’s economy. Last month, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and its partners agreed to sell a majority stake in the Sakhalin-2 oil and gas project in the Russian Far East to state-controlled OAO Gazprom. Sakhalin was the only major oil and gas project fully owned by foreign investors.

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

Last Updated: January 27, 2007 11:07 EST

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