Trutnev May Intervene in Kovykta Field

baikalforum.ruTrutnev, right, shaking hands with business leaders at the fifth annual Baikal Economic Forum on Tuesday in Irkutsk.
IRKUTSK — The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry will intervene if BP's TNK-BP joint venture fails to close a deal to sell control of the Siberian Kovykta gas field to Gazprom by the year's end, Minister Yury Trutnev said Tuesday.

TNK-BP agreed to sell control in the giant deposit to Gazprom last year, but completion of the deal was delayed by the protracted conflict between the British energy major and its Russia-connected partners in TNK-BP.

"If the situation isn't resolved soon, we'll have to interfere in this story again," Trutnev told reporters on the sidelines of the Baikal Economic Forum, in the east Siberian town of Irkutsk.

"Before the end of the year, either the license holder or we have to make a decision," he added.

TNK-BP, Gazprom and BP are involved in talks over the creation of a joint venture on the basis of Kovykta.

Gazprom agreed to buy control last summer after the ministry accused TNK-BP of breaching license agreements and threatened to withdraw the license.

TNK-BP has said it could not produce the 9 billion cubic meters of gas per year from the field as required by the license.

Trutnev reiterated that the government was not looking to adjust the production volumes in the license. "Our job is to develop the field. And we're not discussing amendments to the license," Trutnev said, Interfax reported.

Gazprom's deputy chief executive Alexander Medvedev said Monday that his company hoped to complete the talks over Kovykta by the end of the year.

Reuters, MT