It was no secret that Gazprom’s biggest investment bait in the Barents Sea was riddled with problems and challenges, but the latest Wikileaks revelations in Norway show that even partner Statoil has serious reservations over the political risk and corruption issues at the Shtokman field. The Norwegians have long been one of Gazprom’s most valuable and uncomplaining business partners, and it will be interesting to see what happens in two months when the final investment decision is due. From Reuters:
“(Statoil CEO Helge) Lund said he was very worried about corruption and opined that it is worsening,” said the cable by U.S. Ambassador Barry White from December 2009. It was published by Norwegian daily Aftenposten on Friday.
According to the note, Lund told White “the project faces a number of other serious challenges, including lack of local infrastructure combined with local content rules; risk of low gas prices continuing into the future, thanks to the impact of shale gas discoveries; and overall political risk.”