Several major energy projects that had been scheduled or started in the Arctic have been shelved in recent months. For instance, last August Russian President Vladmir Putin announced that the state-owned energy company Gazprom was stopping a $15 billion expansion of its flagship Shtokman gas field in the Barents Sea. He blamed the pullout on soaring production costs, falling gas prices due to the boom in North America, and dwindling demand from Europe as its economies suffer. In another example, Statoil, the Norwegian energy company, last October halted production at its Snohvit (which translates to Snow White) gas field in the Barents Sea offshore from Hammerfest, the northernmost town in the world. Statoil and its partners agreed that there was not enough gas to justify further investment in what is Norway's first energy project in the Arctic.