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Gazprom to wind up Shtokman operator – paper

MOSCOW, June 19 | Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:56am EDT

(Reuters) – Russian group Gazprom is winding up the entity it created to operate the Shtokman gas field and may set up a new company as it prepares to sign a deal that will see Royal Dutch Shell join the project, Vedomosti reported on Tuesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin last month urged partners in the project to make a final investment decision on its plan to extract gas from the Arctic seabed, delayed by years of talks over financing.

Gazprom will dismiss the staff of Shtokman Development AG, operator of the Shtokman gas field, and could create a new company to operate the project, the financial daily reported, citing sources.

A new deal will be signed at the St Petersburg Economic Forum this week, it said, adding Shell was seeking a one-quarter stake and was likely replace one of the two existing foreign investors – French group Total or Norwegian company Statoil.

Gazprom has a controlling stake of 51 percent in Shtokman, which has reserves of almost 4 trillion cubic metres. Statoil owns 24 percent and Total 25 percent.

Sources told Reuters last month Shell could join Shtokman in an attempt to inject new life into the venture, while another source said the future participation of Statoil was in doubt.

SOURCE

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