Statoil has expressed its commitment to work on the Gazprom‘s Shtokman gas extraction project offshore of Russia in the Barents Sea, despite rumours of the Norwegian oil and gas producer’s possible pull-out from the project.

"Statoil, which currently holds a 24% stake in the consortium, had won a deal for three licences in the north-west of Russia."

Russia’s Gazprom OAO has been seeking to develop the natural gas field since the early 1990s, and after several attempts, has formed a consortium with Statoil and France’s Total, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The financial viability of the plan has been under scrutiny due to the complexity of the project and precipitously low gas prices, as well as the emergence of the US as a gas exporter.

But Eldar Saetre, Statoil vice president, said the company is working with its partners to improve the project, bring the costs down and put together the financial framework.

The Shtokman project was initially planned to be transformed into a full liquefied natural gas project, with pipelines already planned.

Negotiations among the consortium partners have been extended until 30 June, raising questions about Russian authorities’ willingness to go ahead with the project.

Statoil, which currently holds a 24% stake in the consortium, had won a deal for three licences in the north-west of Russia, in the Barents Sea, to provide technological cooperation on shale prospects.