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Chevron decides against joining Gazprom-led Shtokman gas project

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MOSCOW, April 4 (RIA Novosti) - U.S.-based Chevron has given up plans to join the development of the vast Shtokman gas project off Russia's Arctic coast, the press secretary for the company's Moscow office said Wednesday.

U.S. majors Chevron and ConocoPhillips, Norway's Statoil and Norsk Hydro and France's Total had been short-listed to develop the Shtokman offshore gas field, but Russian state-run energy monopoly Gazprom announced last October it would develop the gas deposit on its own.

Gazprom also said it could attract partners with expertise in liquefying natural gas and development in "severe weather conditions" as contractors, but that it would be the sole license holder.

"After a detailed study and long deliberations, Chevron has decided not to participate any longer in the discussions of Gazprom's current offer to develop the Shtokman project," Irina Rybalchenko said.

The giant Shtokman field holds an estimated 3.2 trillion cubic meters of natural gas and 31 million metric tons of gas condensate in the Barents Sea, where Gazprom plans to build a liquefied natural gas plant. Some $12-14 billion will be invested in the project's first phase, and production will begin in 2011.

The Shtokman deposit is the only source of natural gas for the ambitious Nord Stream gas pipeline that will link Russia to Germany along the Baltic seabed.

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