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28

Russia to Withdraw BP Licence

Siberian court said it did not have jurisdiction to hear asuit from TNK-BP

Russian regulators are set to discuss the withdrawal of the licence of BP's Russian venture to exploit the massive Kovykta natural gas field.

Siberian court said it did not have jurisdiction to hear asuit from TNK-BP challenging regulators' claims it was notproducing enough gas from the field.

Russia's natural resources ministry said it was "very likely" the licensing agency would discuss on June 1 whether to revoke the licence on the grounds that TNK-BP was not fulfilling its terms.

That would clear the way for a new tender for the field - one of Russia's biggest with 2,000bn cubic metres of gas - widely expected to be won by Gazprom, Russia's state-controlled natural gas monopoly.

Analysts have seen the attack on Kovykta as part of a broader move to return Russia's biggest oil and gas deposits to majority state ownership.