LONDON (Reuters) - Russia will change the composition of a consortium to develop the giant Shtokman gas field, bringing in oil major Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) in place of France’s Total (TOTF.PA) and keeping Norway’s Statoil STL.OL, a report said on Friday.
International Oil Daily newsletter quoted sources close to the project leader, Russia’s gas export monopoly Gazprom (GAZP.MM), as saying the changes are understood to have been approved by President Vladimir Putin.
Shell and Statoil declined to comment.
“There are far too many rumors,” a Total spokesman said.
Gazprom has said this year it is looking to bring in new partners, but Total and Statoil have not said they were planning to quit the project.
“The process is ongoing. Nothing more to say,” a Gazprom spokesman said on Friday.
Shtokman, one of the world’s biggest gas field, has been discovered in the Soviet times but the development of the remote Arctic deposit has been repeatedly delayed by changes of development plans and cost estimates.
The latest blow to the field development has come from a shale gas revolution in the United States, which made exports of liquefied natural gas to the continent unattractive, while gas consumption in Europe also fell due to the economic downturn.
Gazprom has 51 percent in the group while Total has 25 percent and Statoil has 24 percent. The field has reserves of 3.9 trillion cubic meters of gas.
Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters