Russia to push forward with oil projects in Russian Far East

Posted: Thursday, August 03, 2000

MOSCOW (AP) -- The Russian government has promised to draft regulations aimed at reviving stalled oil projects off the country's Pacific coast, a governor from the region said Wednesday.

Sakhalin Gov. Igor Farkhutdinov said the government would focus on regulating customs and border rules for oil exports.

Despite initial optimism of a new oil boom, western oil companies involved in Sakhalin projects have become discouraged by Russia's bureaucratic delays. As a result, development on the fields has slowed drastically.

The Sakhalin projects were developed as production-sharing agreements, whereby the Russian government would regulate foreign investment in its oil, gas and mineral production. Although the Russian parliament has passed legislation aimed at regulating these agreements, it has failed to explain how the laws should be put into practice.

Two oil projects off Sakhalin Island -- known as Sakhalin 1 and Sakhalin 2 -- have been long delayed because the government hasn't made clear how it intends to regulate foreign investors involved in tapping the reserves there.

Exxon-Mobil has a 30 percent stake in Sakhalin 1, Royal Dutch/Shell and Marathon Oil have a combined share of 62.5 percent in Sakhalin 2, while Japanese concerns have substantial stakes in both as well.

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