Statoil Exits from Shtokman Venture

Zacks Equity Research
August 9, 2012

Norwegian operator Statoil ASA (STO) is reported to have pulled out of the Shtokman shareholder agreement and officially relinquished its stake in the stalled Russian project. Statoil has written off an amount of NOK 2 billion ($336.2 million) relating to its investment in the Shtokman gas field.

Shtokman field – one of the world’s largest gas field – is situated in the glacial and turbulent waters of the Arctic Barents Sea and is estimated to hold reserves of about 4 trillion cubic meters.

The consortium responsible for the development of the field included Russian gas giant Gazprom, holding 51% and Total S.A. (TOT) holding 25%. The remaining 24% was held by Statoil. The partners failed to arrive at agreeable commercial terms and conditions for an investment involving about $15 billion for the initial stage. Even the development solution for the field was not amenable.

Statoil formally exited from the project when the agreement expired on June 30. The discussions between the parties are still on and Statoil intends to proceed with the project if it is profitable.

Per the sources, it has been revealed that Royal Dutch Shell plc (RDS.A) is also pondering over joining the venture as a third partner and swapping its place with one of the smaller shareholders. Royal Dutch Shell, being a large company, has a likely greater potential to control projects with high-volume and low margin over a longer term.
 
Over the last 15 months, Statoil has made a string of discoveries, comprising the King Lear discovery, and those at Tanzania (Lavani well and Zafarani), North Sea (Johan Sverdrup), the Barents Sea (Skrugard and Havis) and Brazil (Peregrino South and Pão de Açúcar). This goes to show the company’s steady focus on achieving success in high impact prospects and expanding its operations worldwide. With such a huge range of international projects, Statoil is skeptical about investing in any other new project.

Statoil holds a Zacks #1 Rank (short-term Strong Buy rating).

 

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