11 june 2010

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with Christophe de Margerie, CEO of the Total Group, in Paris

The Russian prime minister said that the Russian government supports Total’s efforts in the Russian market, and added that the company has an opportunity to expand its activities in Russia.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Mr Margerie, I'm really happy to have this opportunity to meet with you during my visit. You currently cooperate with three Russian companies and have been doing so for a long time already. And there is a possibility of expanding your activities in Russia. Total is a well-respected company and we have had a good relationship with you. I won't discuss the Shtokman gas field. This project is immense but there are other projects, for example, those pertaining to liquefying natural gas or producing hydrocarbons.

You will probably agree that there is good administrative support for everything that Total does from the government of the Russian Federation. We intend to continue this support in the future.

Cristophe de Margerie (as translated): What else can I ask for?

Vladimir Putin laughs.

Cristophe de Margerie: Thank you, Mr Prime Minister, thank you very much for finding time to meet with us. I'm glad that the exchange year between Russia and France is helping us develop our cooperation. As you know, we have never wasted time either in the beginning when we launched our cooperation or later, further developing this cooperation. And it was largely thanks to you that this became possible. I know that we set a positive example to emulate. You see us as an example to prove that it is possible to work in Russia, cooperate and build partner relations with it and engage in long-term projects. You have asked us to set such an example and you can rely on us.

As for the Shtokman field, we certainly need to keep to the agreed dates. We can't put them off any more. We may need your assistance and the assistance of [Deputy Prime Minister] Igor Sechin to put pressure on all the participants in the process. The Shtokman field is only an example.

There are other projects as well that we are considering, for example, with Novatek. My friend, [head of Novatek] Leonid Mikhelson, believes that we will be able to move this project forward faster than the Shtokman field. Let's try to keep the same pace, which will be a good achievement as it is. We believe that the Shtokman field and Novatek's project are mutually complementary projects. Some people claim that it is impossible to participate in both projects since they compete with each other, but I disagree. That's why we decided to participate in Novatek's tender. And this all goes hand-in-hand with a wonderful cooperation with Gazprom.

Our policy in your country, Mr Prime Minister, is crystal clear. We have many partners and only one chief. Only one chief, and not two. So, as long as you support me and Total, we will continue doing good things. I've just told Mr Sechin that I have a message from Qatar Petroleum. May we discuss it now?

Vladimir Putin: We will look into these issues. I would only like to emphasize that all your principal partners, including Gazprom, Novatek, Zarubezhneft and Rosneft, are all reliable partners.

In terms of commercial activity, they are also efficient. You need to continue doing what you have been doing so far on the corporate level. As for administrative support, I would like to stress it once again: I intend to continue supporting your efforts in the Russian market just as I always have.