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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Gazprom names customer of Shtokman gas deposit sea facilities

MOSCOW, December 12 (RIA Novosti) - Gazprom [RTS: GAZP] announced Tuesday that the Sevmorneftegaz oil and gas company will be the sole customer for the design and construction of sea facilities at the Shtokman natural gas field off Russia's Arctic coast. Sevmorneftegaz is 100% owned by the Russian state-run gas monopoly. It holds a license for geological prospecting and gas production at Shtokman. "It was decided that Sevmorneftegaz will be the sole customer for the design and construction of Shtokman natural gas deposit sea facilities, which will include a production complex, a system of pipelines and a complex for liquefied natural gas [LNG] production," the company said in a statement. The company will decide on the concept for the project's management and the participation of foreign partners in the project's first stage in the spring of 2007, the statement said. The document rounds up a conference chaired by Gazprom Chief Executive Alexei Miller. The Shtokman offshore deposit is the only source of natural gas for the ambitious Nord Stream gas pipeline that will soon link Russia to Germany along the Baltic seabed. Gazprom's announcement in October that it would develop the Shtokman deposit on its own was a move that stunned Norway's Statoil and Norsk Hydro, France's Total, and U.S. giants Chevron and ConocoPhillips, all companies previously short-listed as contenders for the project. Russia's Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko put Gazprom's decision Friday down to foreign companies' failure to make "satisfactory proposals on assets," but added that foreign companies would be able to participate in the massive gas project on different conditions. The giant Shtokman field holds an estimated 3.2 trillion cubic meters of natural gas and 31 million metric tons of gas condensate in the Barents Sea where Gazprom plans to build an LNG plant. Some $12-14 billion will be invested in the project's first phase, and production will start in 2011.

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