TNK-BP: Russia Gives Rospan Unit 6 Months to Fix Violations

Dow Jones Newswires

MOSCOW, Nov 27, 2006 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Russian officials gave Anglo-Russian oil and gas company TNK-BP Holding's (TNBP.RS) unit Rospan International six months to fix licensing and environmental violations or face losing key production licenses, TNK-BP said Monday.

A special commission under the state subsoil agency, Rosnedra, decided to give Rospan a six-month grace period during a meeting Friday, the company said.

A person inside the agency, who asked not to be identified, confirmed that Rospan was indeed given six months to fix the violations.

Russian prosecutors have requested the annulment of licenses for two major gas fields belonging to Rospan, Novo-Urengoyskoye and Vostochno-Urengoyskoye.

Officials at TNK-BP, which is half-owned by BP PLC (BP), have said their Rospan unit developed the fields in line with Russian laws.

On Monday, TNK-BP said it would present Rosnedra with a comprehensive plan to fix the violations soon.

"We are hopeful we'll be able to resolve these issues within the allotted time," said TNK-BP spokesman Alexander Shadrin.

Rospan International currently produces about 1.5 billion cubic meters of gas a year from both fields combined.

Giving a company three to six months to fix violations is part of Rosnedra's standard procedure for terminating oil and gas production licenses. Licenses can't be pulled without the grace period, according to the agency.

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