A shortlist of companies competing for the project unveiled last September includes Norway’s Statoil and Norsk Hydro, France’s Total, and U.S. giants Chevron and ConocoPhillips. Gazprom will select two or three partners from the shortlist to form a consortium for the project.
According to Igor Shuvalov, a Russian presidential aide, the Russian energy giant needs a partner that will help it "develop the field as successfully and beneficially as possible, with the lowest expenses, and which will supply products to the world market most effectively," RIA Novosti reports.
"This is a business project, and Gazprom is responsible for it. Therefore, I would not like to reveal any information on the issue," he said.
The deposit holds an estimated 3.2 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, and 31 million metric tons of gas condensate in the Barents Sea, off Russia’s Arctic coast. Some $12-14 billion will be invested in the project’s first phase, and production will start in 2011.