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Regulator's commission against revoking license for Kovykta -1

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(Recasts, adds Varlamov quote, background in paragraphs 3-6)

MOSCOW, June 26 (RIA Novosti) - A commission of Russia's license-issuing regulator advised its director Tuesday against revoking the license for Siberia's Kovykta gas field, held by operator Rusia Petroleum, a senior ministry official said.

Alexei Varlamov said: "The decision is of an advisory nature." Russian Natural Resources Minister Anatoly Ledovskikh "has been advised to take into account every opportunity to develop Kovykta."

Varlamov said he hoped the minister would make a sensible decision. "The decision will be made as soon as possible, because no one is interested in delaying this important issue," he said.

Gazprom signed an agreement last week with British oil major BP to buy a controlling stake in the operator from TNK-BP following months of pressure from regulators. The energy giant will also obtain a 50% stake in the East Siberian Gas Company designed to supply Kovykta gas to the Irkutsk Region.

Apart from TNK-BP, Rusia Petroleum is owned by Interros (25.8%) and the local administration (11.2%).

Kovykta is the largest gas field in East Siberia.

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