Norway's Statoil ASA (STO) may leave the international consortium that is to develop the Shtokman liquefied natural gas offshore project in the Russian Barents Sea and may be replaced by Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA), Kommersant daily reports Friday citing unnamed sources.
Russian gas giant OAO Gazprom (>> Gazprom OAO) owns 51% of the Shtokman gas field, Total SA (TOT) of France owns 25% and Statoil owns 24%.
The project has suffered a number of delays on the investment decision recently.
A Gazprom official said Wednesday the company may review the list of participants in its project to develop the Shtokman field next month. According to Kommersant the changes may be announced at the St. Petersburg economic forum in late June.
If Statoil leaves the project, it would still have a foothold in Russia. The company agreed May 5 to form a joint venture with Russia's state-controlled oil company OAO Rosneft (>> Rosneft' NK OAO) to develop Russia's mostly untapped offshore energy resources in the Arctic.
Gazprom and Shtokman declined to comment.
A Statoil spokesman also declined to comment but said the company "supports Gazprom, and there was agreement in the previous board meeting to move on with the project to make it profitable."
-By Alexander Kolyandr, Dow Jones Newswires; email@example.com (Kjetil Malkenes Hovland in Oslo contributed to the report)