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The Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office has ordered the country's environmental protection
The Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office has ordered the country's environmental protection ministry to revoke its decision to annul a U.S. oil company's mineral license, the office said Tuesday.

Ukraine revoked the license of U.S. company Vanco International, a subsidiary of Vanco Energy Company, to develop and produce oil and gas on the country's Black Sea shelf on April 25.

"It has been established that by violating requirements of the Ukrainian Code on Mineral Resources and without providing any legal grounds, the Ukrainian Environment Protection Ministry in line with its order of April 25, 2008 illegally deprived the company of its license," the Prosecutor General's Office said in a statement.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Tymoshenko earlier described the deal with Vanco as "plundering of Ukraine's mineral reserves" and accused President Viktor Yushchenko of lobbying for the U.S. firm.

Presidential spokesperson Irina Vannikova dismissed Tymoshenko's allegations as inappropriate, while Yushchenko demanded the license be returned to Vanco.

Tymoshenko also said that the Ukrainian government planned to involve the international community in an investigation into this mineral license scandal.

"The Black Sea shelf was dishonestly...handed over to shadowy bodies. We, the government, are initiating an international investigation," she said.

Vanco International signed a 30-year production sharing agreement with former premier Viktor Yanukovych's government in October 2007, covering the Prykerchenska area just south of the Crimean Peninsula.

Under the deal, the company received a 65% stake and Ukraine 35% at the prospecting and development stage. The sides were to go 50-50 with the launch of commercial production.

Vanco Energy Company is an integrated independent oil and gas company which operates its exploration and production activities through its wholly owned overseas subsidiary and subsidiaries of Vanco International Ltd.

The company holds and operates six large licenses in five countries, including Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon.


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