TNK-BP Warned Over Kovykta Field

The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry sent a new warning Thursday to TNK-BP that it could lose its huge Kovykta gas field as talks over its sale to Gazprom have been stalled for more than a year.

Minister Yury Trutnev said the ministry could recommend that the license from TNK-BP's Rusia Petroleum venture be withdrawn if a new study confirms underproduction.

"In my opinion, there are no grounds for another extension of the license," Trutnev said.

He said that after the latest such study last year showed underproduction, Rusia Petroleum should have increased output there to 9 billion cubic meters per year, as it is demanded by the license.

Rusia Petroleum has said it could not produce more than 2 bcm at the field because it had to cover only local gas needs after Gazprom banned its plan to use Kovykta for gas exports to China.