Anywhere you care to look somebody is reporting that GAZP has brought Total in to Shtockman. Some mild legal back flips allows GAZP to maintain the fiction that it owns 100% of the license whilst Total is allowed to book reserves. GAZP is not lying, they have 100% of the legal ownership but less than 100% of the legal right to the economic effect. Though whether Total has 25% of the economic benefit is also, as yet unclear - as is most of the agreement.
And for very good reason. The whole thing was cooked up by the potential future chairman of GAZP, in his current guise, and the President of France over a quick phone call. The big idea being that Angela Merkel does not like the future Chairman, Gordon is a Scottish son of the manse, and does not like anyone (and in any case would rather kick up a storm of Lugovoi), Belusconi is currently politically unemployed and the terrible Polish twins and just plain nasty. So Sarkozy is Russia's new best friend, along with Hugo Chavez, and divide and rule says give favours to friends when they are friends.
All of which is fine and dandy, except that there was a reason why the technical people at GAZP were looking for a partner. Shtockman is a long, long way from land and even further from people who will actually pay for gas. So it's expensive and technically difficult. Which is why the Norweigans were in negotiations. Total brings nothing to the party except cash - and GAZP is not short of cash (ask all the people who steal from it). So yet again the Fifth Directorate Thugs have cooked up a political deal which makes them feel as if they are kings of the universe with absolutely no understanding of what it will actually take to make the real event happen.
Anyone willing to bet on production starting in 2018 - that's a whole 5 years after the official start date?
Here's a link if you are interested.Total Wins Share in Shtokman - Kommersant Moscow: