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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 October 2006, 15:27 GMT 16:27 UK
New Gazprom gas to go to Europe
Gazprom logo
Gazprom has decided to go it alone at Shtokman
Gazprom's decision to send the bulk of output from its new gas field in the Barents Sea to western Europe has been welcomed by Germany's largest gas firm.

The boss of E.ON Ruhrgas, Burckhard Bergmann, said the move by Russia's gas monopoly was good news for the supply of gas across the continent.

Gazprom had initially said it planned to ship the gas from the Shtokman field to the US.

Mr Bergmann is also a member of Gazprom's board.

Western firms snubbed

Gazprom's decision to send most of Shtokman's output to Europe came after it shocked a number of Western energy firms by saying it intended to develop the field on its own.

Shtokman field map
The Shtokman field is a $20bn project

Norway's Statoil and Hydro, US firms Conoco Phillips and Chevron, and France's Total had all hoped to be involved in the giant $20bn (10.7bn) project.

The gas from Shtokman will be sent to Germany via a planned gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea called the Nord Stream.

With most of northern Europe's existing gas supplies coming from current Russian fields and Norway, Mr Bergmann said supplies from Shtokman posed no competition to gas from elsewhere.

Germany currently imports 55 billion cubic metres of gas from Russia every year.

Gazprom envisages producing 45 billion cubic metres of gas annually from Shtokman.

Mr Bergmann's comments come as Russian President Vladimir Putin is meeting German business leaders during a visit to Bavaria.

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