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Reuters: Russia postpones Shell Sakhalin cost approval

MOSCOW, (Reuters) – Russia's Energy Ministry said on Friday it had postponed costs approval of Royal Dutch Shell's huge Sakhalin-2 project as it wanted more information to understand why costs doubled to $20 billion.
The ministry said it needed more time to study the revised costs together with Russia's finance, resources ministries and tax bodies. The work is expected to be completed by June.
The postponement is not an isolated case. Other production sharing projects have sometimes worked for an entire year without permission to spend a requested sum.
A lack of approval usually creates operational uncertaincies and slows the implementation of the project.
Shell already shocked investors last year when it doubled the costs for Sakhalin-2, which is set to become the world's largest liquefied natural gas project, and has postponed its launch by at least six months. The ministry said in a statement that it was still concerned that the doubling of costs would delay and cut the profitable share of Russian production.

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