MOSCOW, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin urged government ministries on Wednesday to take action against energy companies that violated licensing agreements in their operations, just over a week after the environmental permit for a Royal Dutch Shell-led energy project was canceled.
"I expect the (Natural Resources) Ministry and the Cabinet in general to make such decisions in relations to the companies that do not operate properly or default on the terms of their licensing agreements," Putin, quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency, said in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
Putin's remarks came at a meeting with Natural Resources Minister Yuri Trutnev, who briefed the president on the ministry's newly-created system to oversee implementation of these agreements.
"We have included in the data base information about the 13,000licenses issued in Russia. The software we use makes it possible to analyze compliance with the basic terms of the agreements," Trutnev said.
The Natural Resources Ministry decided on Sept. 18 to revoke the environmental permit for Sakhalin-2, a massive energy project in the Far East led by Royal Dutch Shell, citing violations of Russia's environmental laws.
Russian government officials have also complained about the massive cost overruns on the project announced by Shell last year, which could delay the point at which the government could reap profits from the project.
The Sakhalin-2 project involves development of the Piltun-Astokhsky and Lunskoye fields off Russia's Pacific coast. Total reserves are estimated at 150 million tons of oil and 500 billion cubic meters of natural gas.
Sakhalin Energy, the consortium formed to develop the fields, is 55 percent owned by Shell. Japan's Mitsui and Mitsubishi hold a combined stake of 45 percent.
The cancellation of the permit could effectively delay work on the project and has caused alarm in Europe and Japan.
In a bid to calm Western energy giants, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday the checks now underway on the Sakhalin-2 project were required by law and did not necessarily mean the license to develop the fields would be revoked.
"The opinion that foreign investors are being forced out of the(Russian) fuel and energy sector is groundless," Lavrov told an international energy conference in the Far Eastern city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, the Interfax news agency reported.
And during Putin's trip to France over the weekend, he also tried to play down fears of a withdrawal of French oil company Total's license to develop the Kharyaga oil field in the Arctic after the Natural Resources Ministry initiated administrative proceedings against Total over alleged violations of the licensing agreement.
"Rumors on the withdrawal of the license from the company are greatly exaggerated," he said in Paris on Friday.
The Kharyaga field is being developed under a production sharing agreement that involves Total, which holds a 50-percent stake in the project, Norwegian company Hydro and the Nenets Oil Company. Enditem