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The operator of the Gazprom-led Shtokman gas condensate project
The operator of the Gazprom-led Shtokman gas condensate project in the Russian section of the Barents Sea asked on Tuesday for tax exemptions as a precondition for investing in the development of shelf deposits.

The managing director of Shtokman Development AG, controlled by the Russian energy giant, told Russian lawmakers that Shtokman partners believe they should be exempted from natural gas extraction and property taxes.

"The fiscal burden should be reasonable so that we are able to make the final investment decision and start the project's implementation," Yury Komarov said during a roundtable meeting in the State Duma.

He said the project had recently run into difficulties, including rising construction costs and falling hydrocarbon prices, and problems in obtaining loans due to the credit crunch.

Komarov said on Monday that borrowed resources would account for 70% of funding for the Shtokman project.

"Our partners are expected to provide a significant volume of resources - about 30%, with the other 70% coming from loans," he said.

Project partners said in October they would invest from $15 billion to $20 billion in the project by 2014.

The project to develop the Arctic gas field, with estimated reserves of 3.8 trillion cubic meters, is intended to supply the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Germany currently being built under the Baltic Sea. The Shtokman project costs are estimated at $30 billion.

Gazprom has a 51% stake in the project, while France's Total and Norway's StatoilHydro have 25% and 24%, respectively.

The first piped gas supplies from the Shtokman field will begin in late 2013 and liquefied gas supplies in 2014. The project's first phase is expected to produce a total of 23.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually.


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