Final list of Shtokman gas field developers ready in April - minister

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MOSCOW, October 31 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian industry and energy minister said Monday the list of companies awarded development rights to the Shtokman gas condensate field in the Russian sector of the Barents Sea would be finalized in April 2006.

"And all estimates on the project are to be completed before the end of 2006," Viktor Khristenko said.

The Shtokman field's reserves are estimated at 3.2 trillion cu m of natural gas and 31 million metric tons of gas condensate.

Production is scheduled to begin in 2010 with maximum output to be reached by 2011-2012.

The project is worth an estimated $10 billion.

On September 16, Alexei Miller, the head of Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom, announced the shortlist of companies bidding to develop the Shtokman deposit and launch liquefied natural gas production, transportation, and sales. The list included American companies Chevron and ConocoPhilips, Norway's Hydro and Statoil, and France's Total.

Liquefied natural gas will be exported mainly to the United States, but 25% is intended for European markets.

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