Russia Minister Threatens TNK-BP with Spill Damages

Russia’s Natural Resources and Ecology Minister Yuri Trutnev threatened on Thursday to claim damages from Anglo-Russian oil producer TNK-BP over spills in Siberia.

Moscow-traded TNK-BP’s shares were down 4.8 percent at 1340 GMT after Trutnev’s threat, underperforming a 1.8 percent rise in the broader market.

Trutnev, whose ministry has a track record of successfully stripping companies of their assets over ecological misdeeds, told a government meeting chaired by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that he ordered an ecological watchdog to file a lawsuit against TNK-BP.

“I ordered Rosprirodnadzor to prepare a lawsuit to seek damages and offered the company to lay out a plan on overhauling their pipeline system,” he said, according to the meeting transcripts published on the government website on Thursday.

“Please, act in line with the law,” Putin said in response.

The ministry said in a statement on Wednesday Trutnev visited Western Siberia Khanty-Mansiisk region, the hinterland of Russia’s oil production, the world’s highest.

“Trutnev deemed TNK-BP’s ecological safety work unsatisfactory,” the statement said.

TNK-BP said on Wednesday “historical problems with the region’s pollution are well-known”, adding it was “open for cooperation.”


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