Russia would continue developing the Shtokman offshore field, one of the world's largest gas deposits, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said.
Putin cited changes on the gas market after the global financial crisis, such as the decline in gas demand, as a reason for delays.
"The well-known Shtokman project slowed down a bit due to recent events on the global market, but we will go ahead with it anyway, with French companies as full-fledged partners," Putin said at a news conference after talks with his French counterpart, Francois Fillon.
Shtokman, with estimated reserves of 3.8 trillion cubic meters, is to feed Nord Stream, a gas pipeline set to link Russia and the European Union via the Baltic Sea.
Gazprom, which supplies Europe with a quarter of its energy needs, said in mid-November that it was discussing additional supplies of Russian gas to France via the Nord Stream pipeline. The Russian premier said the sales of Russian gas may increase by 1.5 billion cubic meters.
"We have already agreed [the purchase of] four billion cubic meters [of natural gas], and are now discussing the possibility of further increasing it by 1.5 billion," Putin said.
Russian gas giant Gazprom is the license holder for the Shtokman deposit. Its partners in the project are France's Total and Norway's Statoil.
Gazprom has previously decided to build a sea production complex, a pipeline to link the Barents Sea deposit with the shore and a gas treatment unit. The Russian gas giant is likely to decide on production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) before the end of 2011.
Gas production for pipeline delivery will start in 2016, not in 2013 as it was previously planned. The expected start of LNG production was also put off until 2017.
MOSCOW, December 10 (RIA Novosti)