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Russia: Shtokman plans hit the buffers

GAS IS IN oversupply, prices are low, demand has slumped and the situation could persist for years, say analysts. So with its finances still shaky, Russia's Gazprom and its partners in the pricey Shtokman gasfield development have delayed their flagship project. Last month, Total, one of the shareholders in Gazprom-led Sevmorneftegaz, which will develop Shtokman, said a final decision on whether to proceed with the $15bn project would only be made at the end of this year. Arnaud Breuillac, one of its executives, said that in present "conditions it is absolutely normal that the project is taking more time than was initially planned". Ominously, he added that "projects on a scale such as S

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