"Statoil exits Shtokman"

Statoil once worked hard to get a stake in the Shtokman project. Now, the company might say goodbye to partners Gazprom and Total. Photo:

Statoil CEO Helge Lund is heading to Moscow to meet with President Vladimir Putin. The company is about to be ejected from the Shtokman project, analysts say


According to newspaper Kommersant, Shell will replace Statoil in the giant gas project in the Barents Sea. License holder Gazprom wants the Norwegian company out of the project, reportedly because of conflicting views on the project development model, the newspaper informs. Gazprom prefers Shell, a company, which successfully has worked with the Russians at Sakhalin.

Gazprom leader Aleksei Miller has in recent talks with colleagues reportedly confirmed that he is ready to part with the Norwegians. Sources in the company say to Kommersant that the Norwegian company “does not agree with anything” and that it “acts in very nervous manner”.

Officially, Statoil fully supports Gazprom’s intention to skip the project’s pipeline part and instead develop Shtokman as a 100 percent LNG project. However, according to the source, the company in internal discussions “distances itself from this idea”.

Trond Omdal, analyst at the Arctic Securities, confirms that Statoil has not been content with the conditions offered in the Shtokman project and that the company, after having secured the major deal with Rosneft, might well pull out of Shtokman, reports.

Neither Statoil, nor the Kremlin, want to confirm that Helge Lund will meet with President Putin today 

Statoil holds a 24 percent share of the Shtokman Development AG, the joint venture responsible for the project. Gazprom holds 51 percent, while Total holds 25 percent.

Statoil has long stressed that project development costs need to be reduced and that tax breaks must be introduced. The development costs for the project’s first phase has reportedly grown to about $30 billion, up from the originally planned $20 billion.

If pulling out of Shtokman, Statoil might risk losing the about $1.5 billion which the company has invested in the project.