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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Gazprom to choose Shtokman partners for reasons of cost-benefit

MOSCOW, 09-05-2006 (RIA Novosti) - Gazprom [RTS: GAZP] will select partner companies to develop the giant Shtokman gas deposit off Russia's Arctic coast only for reasons of optimum cost-benefit, a Russian presidential aide said Tuesday. A shortlist of companies competing for the project unveiled last September includes Norway's Statoil and Norsk Hydro, France's Total, and U.S. giants Chevron and ConocoPhillips. Gazprom will select two or three partners from the shortlist to form a consortium for the project. Igor Shuvalov said the Russian energy giant needs a partner that will help it "develop the field as successfully and beneficially as possible, with the lowest expenses, and which will supply products to the world market most effectively." "This is a business project, and Gazprom is responsible for it. Therefore, I would not like to reveal any information on the issue," he said. The deposit holds an estimated 3.2 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, and 31 million metric tons of gas condensate in the Barents Sea, off Russia's Arctic coast. Some $12-14 billion will be invested in the project's first phase, and production will start in 2011.

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