Statoil ASA (STL) is in talks on the Shtokman gas project in Russia’s Barents Sea waters and expects a schedule to be set after reaching new agreements with partners led by OAO Gazprom (GAZP), following repeated delays.
“We have no plans to leave Shtokman,” Peter Mellbye, an executive vice president for international production at the Norwegian energy producer, said today in an interview in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Gazprom, Russia’s natural-gas exporter, may add partners to the Arctic project and seek to focus on producing liquefied natural gas for shipment by tanker. Gazprom, Statoil and their third partner, France’s Total SA (FP), have repeatedly postponed a final investment decision and the start of output as costs rise and demand wanes, while the shale gas boom in the U.S. forced them to reconsider markets.
The partners are in discussions with “other companies” before signing new agreements, Mellbye said.
Gazprom may add new partners and has experience working with Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) on LNG, Chief Executive Officer Alexey Miller said on May 25, after the Kommersant newspaper reported Shell may replace Statoil in the Shtokman project. Gazprom will maintain its stake and new partners would reduce the stakes held by Statoil and Total, Interfax said yesterday, citing Miller.
The partners may agree on new terms for Shtokman, such as a focus on LNG, at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June, Miller said last month.
Total and Statoil signed onto the Shtokman project with Gazprom in 2007, and the Shtokman Development AG operating company was set up in 2008. The partners have targeted the start of piped gas shipments from Shtokman in 2016, and LNG exports a year later.
Shtokman Development is 51 percent owned by Gazprom, while Total owns 25 percent and Statoil has 24 percent.
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