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Extreme Convenience at Yamal

Some comments on Gazprom’s announcements of spending cuts and delays in developing the Yamal field from the Wall Street Journal:

“A year-and-a-half ago we were worrying about whether Gazprom would get Bovanenkovo done in time” to meet rising demand, said Prof. Jonathan Stern, director of gas research at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. “Now that’s right off the agenda. The urgency has gone.”

He said he had always been skeptical that Gazprom would be able to launch the field by 2011 as planned, and it was “extremely convenient” for the company to be able to attribute the delay of the project to lower demand.

Mr. Ananenkov said Gazprom planned to produce between 450 billion and 510 billion cubic meters of gas this year, rising to 523 billion cubic meters in 2012. But even that would be sharply down on last year’s production figure of 550 billion cubic meters.