St. Petersburg’s Forum sparks new controversy over Shtokman project

Global energy majors Gazprom, Statoil and Total were supposed to sign an agreement but didn’t. The head of Total pointed out the deal is in progress, despite reports on probable replacements in the project.

­Christophe de Margerie believes the agreement with Russia’s Gazprom over the Shtokman gas project will be completed by the end of the month.

“We had a good meeting with Aleksey Miller and went through the points that need to be discussed to reach an agreement,” Christophe de Margerie, CEO of Total told RT. “I think we are doing good progress and we are ready to finalize the agreement before the end of June”.

Located in Russia’s Arctic, the Shtokman gas field is one of the largest deposits holding almost 4 trillion cubic meters – enough to meet global demand for about a year. Gazprom holds a controlling stake of 51% in Shtokman, while Norway’s Statoil owns 24% and Total holds 25%.
Gazprom’s CEO Aleksey Miller told journalists the companies have only held negotiations at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum and don’t plan to sign any papers on the framework.

The International Oil Daily newsletter on Friday quoted sources close to the project that Gazprom considers bringing Royal Dutch Shell in to replace Total and to keep Statoil. The reports came as Gazprom’s leader Miller met with Royal Dutch Shell CEO Peter Vose at the Forum to discuss their Sakhalin-2 oil and LNG project and further cooperation.

Despite the rumors, Margerie pointed out he’s more optimistic about participating in Russian energy projects after the meeting with President Vladimir Putin at the Forum, because the “President confirmed his wish to see foreign companies participate in the development of the energy sector in Russia”.

Besides Shtokman, Total is currently engaged in the Yamal LNG development in conjunction with Russia’s Novatek.