Russia allows Japan to keep stake in Sakhalin-1

REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin//File Photo
A vessel leaves the Orlan oil plattform at Sakhalin-1’s off-shore rig at the Chaivo field, some 11 km (7 miles) off the east cost of Sakhalin island October 10, 2006.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Russian government has decided to allow Japan to maintain its stake in the Sakhalin-1 oil and gas development project in Russia’s Far East, the Japanese government said Tuesday.

“The decision is very significant for stable energy supplies to our country over the medium to long term,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a news conference.

Moscow approved the transfer to Japanese public-private company Sakhalin Oil and Gas Development Co. of 30% shares in a new Russian company that has taken over the Sakhalin-1 project, unchanged from the previous stake in the project, the trade ministry said.

Russia had already made a similar move over the Sakhalin-2 oil and gas project, allowing Japanese trading houses Mitsui & Co. and Mitsubishi Corp. to maintain their stakes in the project.

Sakhalin Oil and Gas Development was created chiefly by the Japanese government and major traders Itochu Corp. and Marubeni Corp.

Tokyo had shown its policy of maintaining Japan’s interest in Sakhalin-1, hoping to reduce the country’s oil dependence on the Middle East, which stands at about 90%.

According to Russia’s state-run Tass news agency, Moscow has also decided to allow an overseas subsidiary of India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corp. to maintain its 20% stake in Sakhalin-1.