Aleksandr Medvedev (file photo) (epa)
July 9, 2007 -- Aleksandr Medvedev, deputy chairman of Gazprom's management committee, says the natural-gas giant is close to offering foreign companies an economic, as well as managerial role in tapping the vast Shtokman gas field in the Barents Sea.
This marks an apparent policy shift, as earlier Gazprom indicated it would allow foreigners only a minor role.
Gazprom has held talks about Shtokman with Norwegian, U.S., and French companies. According to Medvedev, a deal is "very close."