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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Mitvol to Target Petromir

Oleg Mitvol, deputy head of the Natural Resources Ministry's environmental agency, is looking into whether the company exploring the Angaro-Lensk natural gas deposit in eastern Siberia improperly boosted its reserves estimate.

The owner of the deposit, Moscow-based company Petromir, founded in 1999 by former world chess champion Anatoly Karpov, estimated its gas reserves at 1.2 trillion cubic meters when it registered the field at the end of January.

Mitvol believes these figures might be inflated and has started an investigation as to the real figures, his spokesman said.

Mitvol's suspicions were raised by the fact that Petromir drilled only one well during its exploration work even though it would take dozens to confirm such large reserves, Kommersant cited him as saying. Mitvol suspects the company might have inflated the figures to attract investors into the project, and analysts believe he could be right.

"This often happens" in an effort to boost oil and gas projects, said Valery Nesterov, an analyst at Troika Dialog.

The deposit is located 100 kilometers from the TNK-BP-run Kovykta field, with estimated gas reserves of around 2 trillion cubic meters. Gazprom is believed to be interested in joining the Kovykta project.

Mitvol is also planning to check compliance with environmental legislation at the ExxonMobil-run Sakhalin-1 project in April or May, Interfax reported Wednesday.