Gazprom shakes up Shtokman Development
All employees at the Shtokman Development AG are being fired and the project operating company might be eliminated, people close to the company say.
All the workers in the SDAG, except CEO Aleksei Zagorovsky, have been dismissed, two sources in the company confirm to newspaper Vedomosti. They also believe the company, the joint venture responsible for the development of the huge Arctic gas field, might be eliminated and replaced by a new corporate structure.
Gazprom and its partners Total and Statoil have spent four years on the development of the Shtokman company, which today reportedly has up to 450 employees. An estimated 1,5 billion USD has been spent on the development of the company, although the gas project itself has come no closer to implementation.
Analysts now believe that the Shtokman project faces a major reshuffle and that a new partnership model will be introduced. As previously reported, Gazprom has openly signalled that it considers to include more partners in the project and that Shell might get an invitation.
According to Vedomosti, Shell is interested in taking up a share in the project, but insists on a 25 percent stake. That creates a headache for the current junior partners Total and Statoil, and might ultimatedly lead to the ejection of one of the two companies from the project.
The Sankt Petersburg Economic Forum, which takes place this week, might bring several answers to the many current speculations about the Barents Sea project. Both Gazprom and President Vladimir Putin have indicated that this will be the venue for Shtokman decisions. According to Gazprom, several new project documents will ”from scratch” be signed at the forum.