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LUKOIL Could Lose Trebs & Titov Rights

Source: Reuters 3/23/2012, Location: Asia

Russia's LUKOIL could lose access to the Trebs & Titov field, which it had planned to develop with mid-sized player Bashneft, Interfax quoted the natural resources ministry as saying on Friday.

The news agency quoted Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev as saying the LUKOIL-Bashneft joint venture set up to develop the new field, in Russia's Arctic, did not meet licence tender requirements.

Trutnev added the licence could be revoked and given solely to Bashneft, Interfax said.

The winner of the licence is required to refine a share of crude produced at Trebs and Titov which, with an estimated 200 million tonnes of oil, was the largest field left in government control when the licence was issued in December 2011.

But the field is far from domestic oil pipelines.

Bashneft has guaranteed to refine an equivalent amount of its own oil at its refineries near the city of Ufa, on the Volga river, while the Trebs & Titov oil would be exported via LUKOIL's Arctic terminal at Varandei.

Bashneft initially won the licence then agreed to the joint venture, which does not formally control refinery capacity, with LUKOIL.

"From a formal standpoint Mr. Trutnev is obviously correct," LUKOIL spokesman Dmitry Dolgov said. "From a logical point of view, there are no grounds to revoke the licence."

A Bashneft spokesman declined immediate comment.

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