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MosNews: Russia Won’t Push Foreigners Out of Energy Sector — Foreign Minister


(Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov)

Created: 27.09.2006 11:54 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 11:54 MSK

On Wednesday, Sept. 27, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sought to alleviate international concerns of energy deal, saying talk of revising production sharing deals or pushing foreigners out of the sector was unfounded.

MosNews has reported that Russian environmental watchdog and Natural Resources Ministry has threatened to withdraw a permit for Shell-led Sakhalin-2 oil and gas project.

The Russian authorities have also made some similar threats about Exxon-led Sakhalin-1 project, Total’s Kharyaga gas field prject and TNK-BP’s Kovykta gas condensate project. The threats have sparked fears that Russia wants to renegotiate the production sharing agreements (PSA) it signed with these companies earlier.

“Assertions about ’revisions’ of PSAs and especially about squeezing foreigners out of the Russian energy sector have absolutely no basis whatsoever,” Lavrov was quoted by RIA Novosti as telling a conference on Russia’s Pacific Sakhalin Island.

“Carrying out checks in no way means that licenses for developing deposits within the Sakhalin-2 project will be withdrawn,” Lavrov said.

On Tuesday, Natural Resources Minister Yuri Trutnev said work on the Sakhalin-2 project could continue while a full-scale ecological probe, due to start on Sept. 25 and last a month, is held.

Shell was not immediately available for comment.

Shell has come under fire from Russia after admitting the project would cost $20 billion, twice as much as it originally estimated, complicating talks on a strategic swap of assets with state-controlled gas monopoly Gazprom. The doubling of Shell’s costs has also infuriated Gazprom, which wants to take an equity stake in Sakhalin-2. The project will supply liquefied natural gas to export markets such as Japan and Korea.

Concerns were also raised about the neighboring Sakhalin-1 PSA project run by Exxon Mobil after industry sources said oil pipeline loading had been suspended for technical checks. Exxon Neftegaz, a group uniting Exxon and its partners in Sakhalin-1, has said it was unaware of any order to suspend work and business is continuing as usual.

The head of Russia’s technical standards agency RosTekhNadzor told the Sakhalin conference that he hoped Sakhalin-1 would be able to deal with any breaches of the rules at its De Kastri terminal before its planned launch on October1, RIA Novosti reported. The head of Exxon Neftegaz Steven Terni said the issue needed to be sorted out, but that the scheduled launch of the terminal was possible. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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