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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Imperial Denies Data Exports

Imperial Energy, a London-listed oil explorer accused by environmental official Oleg Mitvol of inflating reserve estimates, denied exporting geological data on its deposits for an audit after Mitvol's agency called for a criminal probe.

"We handed over the information to DeGolyer & MacNaughton in Moscow," Peter Levine, chairman of the company, said by telephone Monday. "We didn't export any data."

The Natural Resources Ministry's environmental watchdog sent a letter to the Prosecutor General's Office on Sept. 28 asking for further investigation after prosecutors said DeGolyer & MacNaughton's Moscow office did not review Imperial's reserves data, Mitvol, the watchdog's deputy head, said Monday.

Geological information on oil and gas reserves must be licensed by the Economic Development and Trade Ministry, with the environmental inspectorate's approval, before it is shipped abroad, Mitvol said by telephone. Neither Imperial Energy nor DeGolyer & MacNaughton obtained such a license, he said.

"We are concerned about the frequency of a certain type of statement made by Mr. Mitvol," Levine said. "The same practice was used for auditing our reserves as for other companies, including Gazprom and Rosneft."

Imperial's contract for the reserves audit was signed with DeGolyer & MacNaughton's Dallas office, Levine said.

The auditor's Moscow office did not immediately respond to telephone and e-mail requests for comment.

The Natural Resources Ministry sent a letter to the London Stock Exchange in July saying Imperial's reserves were "significantly inflated" to shareholders. Imperial denied the charge.