Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image

Daily Mail: Regulator’s new attack on Imperial Energy

Brian O’Connor
20 April 2007

Shares in Russian oil producer Imperial Energy slumped again as it came under fresh attack from aggressive Russian regulator Oleg Mitvol, who also savaged five other UK oil and mining companies.

Imperial fell a further 135p to 1092p on Thursday, from a peak of 1508p early on Wednesday. The London Stock Exchange has had a close look at the heavy share dealing over the two days.

Mitvol broadened his attack last night to investigate whether five other UK groups’ statements of reserves might be misleading.

He named Sibir Energy (down 9p on Thursday to 467p), Victoria Oil & Gas (down 3¾p to 49p), Urals Energy (off 5p to 400p), Trans-Siberian Gold (unchanged at 49½p) and Celtic Resources (168½p).

Sceptics say Russian rules on reserves are simply tougher than Western rules. But any further share turbulence would be sensitive for the LSE, which has been accused by US rivals of lower regulatory standards. In Imperial’s case, the LSE seems not to have found enough to trigger a full Financial Services Authority probe.

Imperial has enough problems with the Russian environment regulator, where deputy director Mitvol now accuses it of infringing rules to protect forests, while laying a pipeline. This is a step down from Wednesday’s suggestion of falsified oil reserves.

Peter Levine, Imperial’s chairman, said its conduct in Russia ‘has been exemplary’ – which had been confirmed by the Ministry of Natural Resources three days ago – and the criticism was ‘without foundation’. Mitvol, a skilled populist, has previously attacked Peter Hambro Mining and Sakhalin Energy, in which Shell then owned 55%.

Hambro rebutted his attack, but Shell was forced to surrender control of Sakhalin to state giant Gazprom.

Mitvol, a connoisseur of controversy, is amaire who bought the newspapers of tycoon Boris Berezovsky when he fled Russia.

Levine said Imperial will invest £120m in Russia this year, supporting 1,300 jobs.

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.