Total ‘Happy’ With Shtokman Stake, Sees Accord by Month-End

Total SA Chief Executive Officer Christophe de Margerie said France’s largest oil company is happy with its 25 percent holding in Russia’s Shtokman project.

The partners, led by Russian gas export monopoly OAO Gazprom, will probably complete talks on the project’s future by the end of the month, De Margerie told reporters today at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum in Russia. Norway’s Statoil ASA is the third partner in the project.

Gazprom has said it’s looking at bringing in a new foreign partner to help develop the repeatedly delayed project as it seeks to produce liquefied natural gas from the Arctic Shtokman field and export the fuel by tanker to North America, Asia and Europe. The Shtokman shareholders’ agreement runs out July 1, almost five years after Gazprom selected the partners.

“We had a good meeting with Gazprom,” de Margerie said. “We have made progress.”

Total has no knowledge of talks with potential new partner for the project, he said.

No agreements on the project will be signed at the St. Petersburg forum, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller said today after meeting with de Margerie and Statoil CEO Helge Lund. Miller also met with Royal Dutch Shell Plc CEO Peter Voser to discuss their Sakhalin-2 oil and LNG project and expanding cooperation.

Gazprom may add new partners to Shtokman and has experience working with Shell on LNG, Miller said on May 25, after the Kommersant newspaper reported Shell may replace Statoil. He declined to elaborate.

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