Europe's energy commissioner has called for a rapid resolution to the Shell Sakhalin-2 permit setback, while a spokesman from the Japanese government has reportedly voiced his concerns over how possible delays could affect relations between Russia and Japan.

Reacting to the announcement of the cancellation of an environmental permit for the Sakhalin-2 project led by Shell, European energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs, has stated that he takes the announcement very seriously and will be writing to Russia’s energy minister to offer his support for a rapid resolution of this issue.

In order to ensure that companies are willing to invest in multi-billion euro energy projects, a secure and predictable investment climate is necessary in Russia…Without this, investment in new energy projects will be highly problematic, providing uncertainties for the world’s future energy supply, Commissioner Piebalgs said.

However, in the event that such issues have been identified regarding the Sakhalin-2 development, I believe that they should be clearly and unequivocally identified by the Russian authorities and Shell must be given an appropriate time to resolve them according to defined and clear criteria.

Meanwhile, reports are circulating that Shinzo Abe, who is tipped to soon become Japan’s next prime minister, has articulated concerns about the possibility of delays to the Sakhalin-2 project in the wake of the permit cancellation. The news will be of particular interest to Japan as the country is anticipated to become the number one customer for Sakhalin-2.

I am concerned that major delays might have a negative influence on overall Japan-Russian relations, Reuters quotes Mr Abe as saying.

Reuters also reported that Claude Mandil, head of the International Energy Agency, has warned that the permit issue, and any subsequent delays, could deter investors from backing the Sakhalin-2 project.