LAWFUEL – A Siberian court on Monday threw out a lawsuit filed by the BP PLC’s local subsidiary over the amount of gas it produces, opening the way for regulators to pull the license to the company’s giant Kovykta gas field, Businessweek reports.
Analysts have called the case symptomatic of a broader drive by the Russian state to expand its influence in the oil and gas industry, predicting that the regulatory pressure will disperse as soon as a deal is sealed to allow state-controlled gas monopoly OAO Gazprom to take control of the project.
That would mirror Gazprom’s entry to the giant Sakhalin-2 liquefied natural gas development off Russia’s Pacific coast, where Royal Dutch Shell PLC was elbowed into a minority position.
Observers suggest a deal will also depend on BP’s Russian partners selling their stakes in TNK-BP to a state-controlled energy company such as Gazprom or oil company OAO Rosneft.
“We regret the negative decision of the court,” Marina Dracheva, a spokeswoman for TNK-BP, BP’s Russian joint venture, said Monday. The subsidiary developing the field “intends to appeal the decision and to use every legal right to defend and retain this license,” she said.
Russia’s environmental watchdog, Rosprirodnadzor, argues that TNK-BP has produced a tiny fraction of the 9 billion cubic meters of gas per year that it was due to pump from the 2.1 trillion-cubic-meter field under its license terms.