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Last Updated: Monday, 9 October 2006, 15:20 GMT 16:20 UK
Gazprom goes solo on gas project
Gazprom logo
Gazprom says it will go it alone in the Barents Sea
Russian energy giant Gazprom has decided to bypass foreign partners and develop a huge natural gas field on its own in a $20bn (10.7bn) operation.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller told Russian TV that the Shtokman field in the Barents Sea would be exploited by his company alone.

The project will be Russia's most ambitious energy venture yet.

The move is being seen as a snub to the US, French and Norwegian firms which had been shortlisted to assist Gazprom.

Rejected players

Norway's Statoil and Hydro, Conoco Phillips and Chevron of the US and France's Total are all Gazprom's jilted suitors in the project.

Stephen O'Sullivan, head of research at Deutsche Bank, suggested that by going it alone Gazprom was taking on a large risk at a time when it was stretched with other projects.

Shtokman field map
Gazprom has set its sights on the Shtokman gas field

"This will mean delays in the project," he said, noting that the decision increased the risks for foreign oil and gas companies operating in Russia.

Germany is a prime candidate for consuming Shtokman gas. German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently raised the question of how Germany could benefit from Russia's exploitation of the field.

Germany imports 55 billion cubic metres of gas from Russia every year. Gazprom envisages producing 45 billion cubic metres of gas annually from Shtokman.

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