The development of the Shtokman field and the discussions around it is, probably, the most burning and controversial topic in contemporary international energy policy and Russian energy policy. The Shtokman gas and condensate field, located 550 km north-east of Murmansk was discovered in 1988. Shtokman’s explored reserves are valued at not less that 3.8 tcm of gas and around 37 mln tons of gas condensate. In 2005 Gazprom began negotiations about Shtokman’s development with eleven international oil and gas companies. That led in September 2005 to a short-list of five potential partners – the Norwegian Statoil and Norsk Hydro, the American Chevron and ConocoPhillips and the French Total – for a possible stake in the project. It was expected that Gazprom would choose the companies that would take part in consortium. But the final decision was postponed several times. As a result, in July 2007 Gazprom chose the first international partner for the development of the field - the French company Total got a 25% stake in the project. Some months later, in October 2007 the Norwegian StatoilHydro also was awarded a 24% stake in an operating company that will be responsible for planning, financing and building the first stage of the project. The thesis explores the political aspect of the development of the Shtokman field and analyzes Gazprom’s decisions on Shtokman. Then, this paper aims to present the economic perspective of the Shtokman development and to view Shtokman as opportunity for Russia to build up its national competence and innovation system. The thesis demonstrates that the political perspective seems to be central in the Russian energy strategy and that Gazprom’s decision on Shtokman was determined by economic as well as by political reasons. The “development” strategy” is not considered as central in Russian policy. The potential of the Shtokman project is enormous and the main question is whether it can become a “blessing” for Russian economy and industry. It may also happen that the country’s economy will follow a path close to the “resource curse” development – and therefore in the longer run make Russia weaker. Whether Russia is able to use its natural resources (the Shtokman field) for building up its national innovation system is a question for further research.
Keywords: the Shtokman field, energy policy, innovation system, “resource curse”.