New shareholders may join Gazprom’s mega project to develop the giant Shtokman gas field in the Barents Sea, but only at the expense of the existing project participants Total and Statoil, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said on Monday.
Currently, Gazprom holds 51 percent in the project while France’s Total holds 25 percent and Norway’s Statoil 24 percent.
“New participants may appear but Gazprom’s stake will not be changed,” Miller said.
The Gazprom head announced in late May his company was holding talks with a number of other companies about their participation in the project. Gazprom intends to announce decisions on the project, including new participants, at the St. Petersburg international economic forum on June 21-23.
Media reports have claimed Total and Statoil may bow out of the project to focus on other large-scale undertakings in Russia, as the current Shtokman shareholders have been dragging their feet with an investment decision on Shtokman, which has reserves estimated at 3.9 trillion cubic meters of natural gas.
Total has said, however, it has no intention of quitting the Shtokman project in favor of the Yamal LNG project with Russia’s independent gas producer Novatek.
Statoil CEO Helge Lund said after a May 25 meeting with President Vladimir Putin the Norwegian company was set to go ahead with the Shtokman project despite an agreement with Rosneft early in May on joint work in the Barents and Okhotsk Seas.
Miller said Gazprom planned to sign a binding agreement with Shtokman project participants at the St. Petersburg economic forum, adding the entire amount of natural gas extracted during the first stage of the deposit’s development was intended for liquefying, leaving only 1.7 billion cubic meters for gas supplies for the Murmansk Region in the Russian north.
“The business model will be different. We are at the negotiations stage. This concerns the first stage (of the deposit development),” he said.