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    Rosneft may lose licenses for four oil deposits in Siberia

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    The Russian government's environmental watchdog moved Thursday to strip the state-controlled oil company Rosneft of licenses to develop several oilfields in Siberia.

    MOSCOW, December 21 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian government's environmental watchdog moved Thursday to strip the state-controlled oil company Rosneft of licenses to develop several oilfields in Siberia.

    Rosprirodnadzor said in a news release it sent a request to Rosnedra, an agency regulating the mining of Russia's subsoil resources, for the revocation of Rosneft's licenses to extract crude from four deposits in the northern Siberian region of Krasnoyarsk, including Zapadnolodochny, Vostochnolodochny, Nizhnebaikhsky and Polyarny.

    An audit conducted by the watchdog earlier this month to check on Rosneft's licensing agreements and its compliance with environmental norms revealed that it lacked approval from regulators to prospect the oilfields, and had no official documents authorizing it to use the land.

    This is the latest in a series of probes launched by Rosprirodnadzor in recent months into the activity of domestic and foreign hydrocarbon companies operating in Siberia and the Russian Far East, including the Shell-led Sakhalin Energy consortium.

    Massive environmental violations allegedly uncovered in the course of the inspections have prompted the watchdog to propose recalling licenses from some of the producers and fining them for damages.

    The Shell-led consortium, involved in a multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas project on the island of Sakhalin, off Russia's Pacific coast, may face the revocation of its water use licenses and up to $15 billion in fines to compensate for alleged environmental damage, including illegal logging and dumping of toxic waste.

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