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    Regulator to launch check at Kovykta gas field in mid-September

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    NOVOSIBIRSK, September 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's industrial safety watchdog announced on Thursday it would conduct a check at the Kovykta gas condensate field, the largest in East Siberia, in the second half of September.

    Leonid Baklitsky, the regulator's Siberia director, said the routine check included on Rostekhnadzor's 2007 plan would last for two weeks, but could be extended if necessary.

    Russia's state-controlled gas giant Gazprom is currently considering building a gas refinery in the Irkutsk Region, East Siberia, which could affect the timeframe for launching production at the gas deposit.

    On June 22, 2007 Gazprom signed an agreement with British oil major BP to buy a controlling stake in Rusia Petroleum, the operator of the Kovykta gas field, from joint venture TNK-BP following months of pressure from regulators.

    Under the agreement with BP, Gazprom should also obtain a 50% stake in the East Siberian Gas Company designed to supply Kovykta gas to the Irkutsk Region. Gazprom will pay between $700-900 million under the deal.

    TNK-BP has assessed its stake in Rusia Petroleum and the East Siberian Gas Company intended for sale to Gazprom at $764 million.

    Gazprom and TNK-BP extended on Wednesday the timeframe for finalizing the deal the Kovykta gas field until December 1.

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