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Forbes / Associated Press: Putin: More Oil Transparency Needed

Associated Press 08.06.07, 11:21 AM ET
 
MOSCOW – President Vladimir Putin on Monday called for more clear and transparent rules for foreigners investing in Russia’s petroleum industry.

“We are consistently directing our efforts at establishing transparent terms for foreign investors,” Putin told a Cabinet meeting.

“I should point out that Russia has one of the most liberal regimes of foreign investment in the oil and gas sector,” Putin said in televised comments.

“We’re not just talking about openness – but maximum understanding, transparent order that excludes ambiguity,” he said.

The government has worked inconclusively for four years on new legislation regulating subsoil resources. However, officials have stated repeatedly that foreign companies would be barred from having majority interests in oil or gas deposits over a certain size deemed by the government to be “strategic”.

In recent months, foreign oil companies have been forced to cede control of a number of major projects that they acquired in the 1990s, most notably with Royal Dutch Shell Group’s sale of a controlling stake in the Sakhalin-2 project, and BP PLC’s sale of its stake in the Kovykta gas field.

State-run natural gas monopoly OAO Gazprom was the buyer of both.

Copyright 2007 Associated Press

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