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Regulators may inspect Sakhalin-1

Russian regulators said Thursday they will inspect Sakhalin-1 in late February or March to see if Exxon Neftegaz Ltd. Co. is complying with environmental law.

The inspection was scheduled to be carried out last October, but was postponed because of the multitude of problems with Sakhalin-2 and a shortage of specialists, Oleg Mitvol, deputy head of Rosprirodnadzor, told ITAR-TASS news agency. We will start it depending on weather conditions, he said.

ENL operates the Sakhalin-1 project, which is expected to produce 12.5 million tons of oil annually for 40 years. The project includes SODECO, ONGC Videsh, Sakhalinmorneftegaz and RN Astra.

The oil and natural gas will be piped to the Russian mainland to the export terminal of DeKastri, the U.S. Energy Information Administration says. "Planned exports of oil to world markets, with the assistance of ice-breaking vessels, is scheduled for 2006.

Sakhalin I's natural gas is expected to be sent southward to Japan via a proposed pipeline. The partners are planning for natural gas exports to Japan to begin in 2008.

The project is the largest foreign investment in Russia and capital investment over the life of the project could reach $12 billion, the EIA says.


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