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RIA Novosti: TNK-BP subsidiary head found shot dead in Siberia-1 (*Shell Sakhalin II executives may wish to take note)

14:32 | 02/ 10/ 2006
IRKUTSK, October 2 (RIA Novosti) – A top manager with Rusia Petroleum [RTS: PTRL], a TNK-BP subsidiary, has been killed in Siberia, a spokesman for local police said Monday.

The representative in the Irkutsk Region said chief engineer Enver Ziganshin, 49, was found dead by his wife in a sauna at about midnight on Saturday. He had been shot three times, including once in the head.

Last week, Rusia Petroleum was singled out by the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, which warned the company that its license could be revoked if it failed to address environmental protection concerns and other problems.

The Prosecutor General’s Office said Rusia Petroleum failed to comply with legislation on the use of natural resources and environmental protection, as well as with the terms of its license agreement on the development of the Kovykta gas field, in the Irkutsk Region.

TNK-BP owns a 62.4% stake in Rusia Petroleum — 25.82% belongs to financial industrial group Interros, and the Irkutsk regional government holds the remaining 11.24%.

The Kovykta gas field, one of the largest in East Siberia, has 1.9 trillion cubic meters of proven reserves. It is highly important to the Russian government, which is pursuing an ambitious project to build a gas pipeline network to meet the needs of the Asian market, primarily energy-hungry China, and to diversify its export destinations.

The prosecutor office’s move came against the backdrop of a decision made by the Natural Resources Ministry two weeks earlier to annul its approval of an environmental study on the Royal Dutch Shell-led Sakhalin II energy project, off Russia’s Pacific coast, which could jeopardize deliveries to Japan of liquefied natural gas, slated for 2008.

Russian energy giant Gazprom has been in negotiations with Shell over swapping a stake for a share of another energy project in northern Russia, but pulled out of the talks. Gazprom, which was appointed in 2001 to coordinate all gas projects in East Siberia and Russia’s Far East, has also been in talks with TNK-BP on a role in the Kovytka deposit.

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