Massive Shtokman Gas Field Development Set at $800MM

Dow Jones Newswires

MOSCOW (Dow Jones Newswires), October 20, 2008

Shtokman Development AG, the operator of the giant Shtokman gas field in the Barents Sea, has approved an $800 million budget for 2008 and 2009, the controlling shareholder OAO Gazprom said Monday.

Gazprom holds 51% of the Shtokman Development, while France's Total SA and Norway's StatoilHydro have 25% and 24% stakes respectively.

At a Shtokman Development board meeting Monday, the heads of Gazprom, Total and StatoilHydro discussed the development of the first stage of the project and agreed to move ahead with the phase as planned, Gazprom said.

Shtokman Development AG will design, build and run the first of three phases of the massive Arctic project, located 580 kilometers northeast of Murmansk and containing estimated reserves of 3.8 trillion cubic meters of natural gas and 37 million metric tons of gas condensate.

A final investment decision on the Shtokman project will be taken at the end of 2009 or 2010, Total Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie said last month.

Pipeline gas from the project is expected to start arriving in Europe in 2013, while liquified natural gas -- which may be exported to the U.S. -- will come on line in 2014, Gazprom estimates. However, oil research bodies expect startup at a much later date.

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