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Russian authorities to scrutinise Sakhaklin-1 at end of March

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The scrutiny of the Sakhalin-1 project will begin at the end of March, deputy head of the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources (Rosprirodnadzor) Oleg Mitvol said.

He told Itar-Tass on Wednesday that the probe will be carried out in two stages. "At the end of March a cameral inspection will be carried out, and in May we will examine compliance with environmental legislation on the ground," he said.

He said the inspection would involve specialists from the central office of Rosprirodnadzor and other regions.

The inspection has been delayed several times. Initially it was scheduled for October or November 2006 but was "postponed because of numerous problems with Sakhalin-2 and a shortage of specialists." Then the inspection was delayed till February.

Sakhalin-1 is the first of three projects in Russia operating on a production sharing agreement basis. It involves three offshore oil and gas fields in the northwest of Sakhalin. They contain 307 million tonnes of oil and 485 billion cubic metres of gas.

The Saklhalin-1 operator is the American corporation Exxon. The other parties are the Japanese consortium SODECO, the Indian state-controlled oil and gas corporation Videsh, and Rosneft's subsidiaries.

© Itar-Tass

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