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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Paper: Find Swayed Gazprom

The discovery of more gas than had originally been estimated in Shtokman prompted Gazprom's decision to exclude foreign partners from the enormous field, Kommersant Daily reported Thursday, citing a source at the company.

The Shtokman field, lying under the Barents Sea in the Arctic Circle, contains at least 4 trillion cubic meters of gas, the source said. The field had been estimated to hold 3.7 tcm, already making it the world's largest.

Gazprom declined to confirm the report but a source close to the company said Gazprom had recently completed a new evaluation of the field. The source also said the evaluation had found the gas would be easier to tap than had been earlier believed.

Observers have questioned whether Gazprom could develop the field alone. Gazprom's shock decision earlier this month to shut out five foreign bidders is widely thought to be linked to a government desire to hold onto oil and gas reserves.

"It was clearly a political decision taken by the Kremlin," said Chris Weafer, chief strategist at Alfa Bank.

The discovery of more gas at the site should come as no surprise, Weafer said, pointing to areas like the Middle East and the Gulf of Mexico, where oil fields are often clustered together. "Where there is one field, there is usually a lot more," he said, adding that geologists expected future discovery of "several Shtokman-sized structures."