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MoneyCNN.com: Russia Regulator Asks Sakhalin-2 To Suspend Pipe Work-Mitvol

July 26, 2007: 04:36 AM EST

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Russian environmental regulators have asked Sakhalin Energy Investment Co. Ltd., operator of the Sakhalin-2 project, to suspend work on an onshore pipeline, a top Russian official said Thursday.

Oleg Mitvol, deputy head of the Russian environmental protection agency Rosprirodnadzor, said his colleagues from another authority, the Federal Environmental, Engineering, and Nuclear Supervision Agency, had requested the suspension.

The Sakhalin Energy venture operates a large oil and gas project on the Russian Far Eastern island of Sakhalin, control of which was handed over by Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB) to OAO Gazprom (GSPBEX.RS) earlier this year.

A Sakhalin Energy spokesman said the authorities had requested the suspension pending the approval of a design modification by independent experts. He said it was not related to any accident.

Mitvol also said results of inspections on allegations that noise on an offshore platform where hurting local whales didn’t show “critical” issues.

The noise was “inside the authorized diapason” so “we don’t have a point to push the company,” he said.

Mitvol said in February that his environmental agency planned to start a probe into the Exxon Mobil Corp.’s (XOM) Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project in late March, according to the Prime-Tass news agency.

He said Thursday that regarding Sakhalin-1 “I am not sure there is a big problem”, if there are issues they are “not so critical.”

  (MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires
  07-26-07 0436ET
  Copyright (c) 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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