[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 7 December 2006, 18:07 GMT
Russia ups pressure on Sakhalin
Map illustrating location of Sakhalin island
Sakhalin-2 is off Russia's Pacific coast
Russia has suspended vital permits for Royal Dutch Shell's Sakhalin-2 oil and gas venture, in a move that may further delay the $22bn (11bn) project.

The suspension of 12 water use licences comes two months after Moscow revoked environmental approval for the venture.

Analysts say Moscow's latest move is part of a campaign against Sakhalin-2 until Russia gets more involvement.

At present, the venture off Russia's Pacific coast is run by Anglo-Dutch Shell and two Japanese oil firms.

Shell and the two Japanese companies, Mitsui and Mitsubishi, run Sakhalin-2 through their partnership business Sakhalin Energy.

Creeping Moscow control?

Sakhalin-2 is in the process of coming fully on stream by 2008, and two 800km long pipes are being built along Russia's Sakhalin island.

The water licences that have now been suspended apply to these two pipes.

A spokesman for Sakhalin Energy said both it and its main contractor were now studying the official documentation.

Analysts say that the Kremlin is angered that Sakhalin-2 has gone over budget.

This is because under Sakhalin Energy's deal with Russia, it only has to pay Moscow royalties after it has recouped its costs.

Moscow is also said to be annoyed that no Russian firm is involved in Sakhalin-2, most notably its state-run gas monopoly Gazprom.

In the past two years, Russian authorities have threatened to take legal action against other energy projects with foreign investment, such as UK firm BP's Russian venture, TNK-BP, and US giant Exxon Mobil's control of sister project Sakhalin-1.

Moscow denies any claims that it is opposed to foreign investment.


SEE ALSO
Sakhalin operator 'breaking law'
25 Oct 06 |  Business
Shell counters Sakhalin concerns
16 Oct 06 |  Business
New deadline for Sakhalin project
26 Sep 06 |  Business
Russia's Sakhalin stance queried
25 Sep 06 |  Business
Shell faces more Russian pressure
18 Sep 06 |  Business
Sakhalin residents call for Shell cash
27 Oct 05 |  Asia-Pacific

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific