6 september 2011

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Gerhard Schroeder, the former German chancellor and chairman of Nord Stream’s shareholders’ committee, hold an informal meeting with project participants

The prime minister said that the implementation of the Nord Stream project is a good thing both for Russia and for its partners across Europe.

Gerhard Schroeder (via interpreter): Mr Prime Minister, friends – this is a great day for the European power supply and for Germany, but not only for Germany. Thanks to the prime minister, I have also had the chance to contribute to the construction of the pipeline, and I am proud to be here with all of you. I believe that all those who have helped build this pipeline should be proud of the fruits of their labour. German engineers have told me that it’s hard to find welders as good as the ones in Russia. The same goes for everyone who helped build this pipeline, both in terms of staying on schedule and ensuring that quality standards were met. I believe that this is a perfect example of international cooperation and the things that the Russians and the Germans can accomplish together if they want. So let us raise our glasses to this excellent work and the wonderful relations between our countries and peoples. I would like to wish you all success, especially Mr Putin. Cheers!

Vladimir Putin: My dear Gerd, colleagues, friends – the idea for this project arose in 2005, and we started to implement it less than two years ago. This interval was filled with constant fuss – I would not call it struggle – over the implementation of the project. An exclusive international team was created. Dozens of the world’s largest banks, including European, Japanese and even Brazilian banks, have financed the project. We have created an outstanding team, which is actually quite small: just 160 people from 23 countries, as I have been told. Twenty-three countries! I am very glad that Russia has had the opportunity to accumulate such intellectual potential with the help of our friends and partners.

As I have already mentioned, the amount of gas that will be supplied is comparable to the energy produced by 11 nuclear power stations. This means that 55 billion cubic metres will be delivered annually for 50 years, and this is a significant contribution both to the European and global energy sector, while at the same time adhering to the most up-to-date environmental standards. Sixteen parameters are constantly measured at thousands of points along the route, and quarterly reports are submitted to Russian, German, Swedish, Finnish and Danish environmental organisations. I would like to thank the heads of these states for their support.

Gas will be supplied to Germany, France, Great Britain, Holland and Denmark. This is a great international project that was implemented under difficult conditions, but it was completed thanks to your talent, energy and professionalism. I would like to congratulate you on this result and thank you for your work.

The project is a good thing for Russia as it extends our export opportunities. Certainly, it is a good thing for our partners across Europe. From the very beginning, our German friends and especially the former chancellor, our good friend Gerhard Schroeder, have supported us. There has been so much fuss over these problems, but Mr Schroeder valued this project, took some crucial decisions and consistently supported it for the benefit of the Russian economy and his own country – Germany. Gerhard, I am very glad that we have reached this point. I raise my glass to you! Thank you very much!