TNK-BP has held a meeting with various Russian oil and gas firms, as well as non-governmental organizations, to discuss environmental issues relating to Kovykta gas transportation routes.

TNK-BP held a round table meeting in Moscow with representatives from TNK-BP, BP, Rusia Petroleum, Frecom, and Stroitransgaz. Also present at the meeting were representatives from numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Russia, Greenpeace Russia, International Socioeconomic Union, The Conservation Center, Russia’s Birds Protection Union, and Baikal Environmental Wave.

The meeting focused on environmental issues related to potential routes for Kovykta gas transportation, as well as preparation of independent studies aimed at examining and assessing various Kovykta gas transport options, taking into account socio-economic risks and investment efficiency.

The NGOs stated their belief that this work might serve as a basis for reasoned discussions of issues related to development of the new East Siberian oil and gas province involving producers, consumers and community leaders.

NGO representatives mentioned the relatively high level of information transparency during the project design stage, as well as TNK-BP’s intention to increase the quality of Kovykta project environmental support through comprehensive analysis of social and environmental risks.

At the same time, ecologists voiced a number of concerns regarding the technical side of the project implementation. In their opinion, independent public monitoring could help reduce the probability of these concerns in the future.

The participants agreed that the round table will be the first in a series of future meetings that will allow TNK-BP to inform NGOs of its plans and current activities. Such meetings will also help environmental organizations to implement public monitoring activities, thus ensuring that all East-Siberian projects implemented by TNK-BP meet environmental requirements at all project stages.

In other news, the Associated Press has reported that Russian prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation to probe allegations that an executive at TNK-BP Rospan has been profiting from licensing agreement violations.