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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Trutnev and Prosecutors Criticize More Projects

NEFTEYUGANSK, Khanty-Mansiisk Autonomous District -- Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev on Tuesday called for a coordinated government approach to prevent a recurrence of problems facing oil majors on Sakhalin Island. But prosecutors and government agencies called for more environmental and technical checks into all the country's oil and gas projects.

"We are not going to look at just one company. We want to create a coordinated system to ensure environmental and technical compliance" at oil and gas projects, Trutnev told a conference of oil executives, prosecutors and government agencies in Nefteyugansk who were called to discuss oversight of oil and gas projects.

French oil major Total's Kharyaga project in the Nenets autonomous district had violations "many times over" but was not at risk of immediately losing its license, Trutnev told reporters on the sidelines of the conference.

Trutnev's comments come amid a government campaign of pressure on projects run by foreign oil companies, and appeared to be an effort to show that the government was prepared to investigate purported violations at Russian-run projects as well as at foreign-run projects.

Trutnev ruled out revoking the country's three production sharing agreements with foreign oil companies, but said the government would "happily agree" to scrap the agreements "if the companies suggested it."

Officials from Trutnev's ministry warned at the conference that Rosneft and Russneft could lose some licenses in western Siberian oil fields, while a top prosecutor said oversight agencies had been too soft on oil companies, and criticized TNK-BP and Gazprom Neft over purported environmental and license violations.

TNK-BP units Nizhnevartovsk and Rusia Petroleum and Gazprom Neft's Noyabrskneftegaz were among the worst transgressors, First Deputy Prosecutor General Alexander Buksman said.

Rusia Petroleum, a TNK-BP subsidiary, is the license holder to the Kovykta gas field in eastern Siberia, which holds 2 trillion cubic meters of gas. Gazprom has opposed TNK-BP's plans to break its pipeline monopoly by supplying gas to Asian markets from Kovykta.

The ministry's Federal Subsoil Resource Use Agency is considering whether to revoke five licenses from Rosneft-Purneftegaz, Interfax reported, citing Sergei Sai, the head of the ministry's environmental inspectorate. Russneft has been told to fix violations or lose 10 licenses in the Khanty-Mansiisk autonomous district and the Tyumen region, Interfax reported.