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Gazprom, Total eye arctic gas reserves

Feb. 27, 2012 at 8:22 AM

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Developing the Shtokman natural gas field in the arctic waters on the Russian continental shelf is a strategically important move, said Gazprom.

Christophe de Margerie, chairman of French supermajor Total, met in St. Petersburg, Russia, with Gazprom officials to discuss developments in the Shtokman gas field in the Barents Sea.

"The Shtokman gas and condensate field development project is of strategic importance for Gazprom," the Russian energy company said in a statement. "The project implementation will give a start to a new gas production region on the arctic shelf of Russia."

Gazprom has a majority stake in the project alongside Total and Norwegian energy company Statoil. The field has an estimated 134 trillion cubic feet of gas. Gazprom said deliveries were slated for markets in the Atlantic basin, including the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline to Germany.

Total cost for the project is estimated at $30 billion. Gazprom had said that pipeline deliveries from Shtokman are expected by next year.

Changing weather patterns are giving energy explorers greater access to suspected oil and natural gas reserves in arctic waters. Shell marked a debut with approval from the U.S. federal government for work in the arctic waters off the coast of Alaska recently, though advocacy groups are protesting the decision based on environmental concerns.

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