Friday, May 29, 2009
“Gazprom does not need Shtokman”
2009-05-28 - Barents Observer – Gazprom does not have the need nor financing for the development of the Shtokman field in the Barents Sea, researcher Anders Aslund argues. “Since Gazprom has been forced to reduce its output, it has neither the need nor financing for the expensive development of its new mammoth fields, Shtokman in the Barents Sea and Yamal in the far northern tip of Siberia. Even so, it is now proceeding with contracts for the development of the Shtokman filed for an initial 15 billion USD. Its partners, France's Total and Norway's StatoilHydro, should call its bluff”, Mr. Åslund, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, argues. In an article published in the Moscow Times, Mr. Åslund maintains that the Russian energy giant is poorly managed, inefficient and that government protection is “the company’s only true strength”. However, the crisis offers an excellent opportunity for reform. “The arguments for a profound reform of the country's gas sector have never been stronger. How long is the Kremlin prepared to tolerate Gazprom's massive waste of resources? Åslund writes The researcher also believes that the Russian company’s weakness offers a unique opportunity for the European Union to improve gas trade with Russia. “The two should come together and reform both the European and Russian gas sectors. The centerpiece should be an all-European gas reform, with unbundling of transportation and gas production”.