19 april 2012

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller

The focus of the meeting was on the completion of the underwater section of the second Nord Stream pipeline, which, according to the head of Gazprom, meets the strictest environmental standards. In turn, Vladimir Putin said that, despite the declining role of transit countries that transport Russian gas, cooperation with them should continue on a mutually advantageous basis.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Mr Miller, it looks like I can congratulate you on concluding work on the underwater section, laying the second Nord Stream pipeline across the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

Alexei Miller: Mr Putin, here is my report. The laying of the second Nord Stream pipeline across the seabed has been completed. The second gas pipeline is 1,224 kilometres long. The pipeline links Vyborg, in Russia, with Greifswald, in Germany, and runs across the Baltic seabed. We have begun commissioning the pipeline. In September we will fill the second line with cushion gas volume, and in October we will start commercial supplies. Nord Stream’s capacity is 55 billion cubic metres of gas – this makes it possible to supply gas to 26 million European homes yearly.

The project, as you know, complies with the strictest environmental standards, and this is a significant difference between this project and other projects. Both at the design stage and at the construction stage, and now at the stage of operation, we have paid very close attention to environmental issues. The environmental situation is being monitored at a thousands points along the whole route according to 16 parameters, and the analysis of this control data, control measurements shows that the real environmental situation is below the forecasted data agreed with the Baltic states. The implementation of the project has made it possible to resolve two tasks: to ensure additional Russian gas supply and reduce transit risks.

As for additional gas supply, currently this issue is very important for Europe. The role of Russian gas is growing and the importance of Russian gas on the European gas market is increasing. In 2011, compared with 2010, the share of Russian gas on the European market increased from 24% to 27%, and Europe will need to import over 100 billion cubic metres of addition gas in the coming seven-eight years.

As for reducing transit risks, as we have repeatedly noted, with the launch of the Nord Stream, Ukraine has lost its role and significance as an exclusive transit country for Russian gas supplied to Europe. Today we can say that the second line is being implemented somewhat ahead of schedule. The pipe laying was concluded almost two weeks ahead of schedule – and so commercial supply will also start ahead of schedule.

Vladimir Putin: Moreover, in December, as you have promised, work on the maritime section of the South Stream across the Black Sea bottom will begin. How long will this construction work take approximately?

Alexei Miller: The first commercial gas supplies via South Stream will begin in December 2015. The schedule has been agreed with our partners, European companies – with German, Italian and French companies – and we plan to begin construction in December. Currently all research, preparation work, and design work is being carried out according to schedule, and we have no doubt that the project will be implemented on time.

Vladimir Putin: Some states are losing their exclusive hold on the transit of Russian gas; but these partners remain very significant. And I hope that our joint work with both Ukraine and Belarus, and possibly in the future even with Turkey – we have Blue Stream, which runs across the bottom of the Black Sea to Turkey (we have said that it is possible to extend it, however a decision on this will surely take into the account the realities of South Stream) – but in any case we should continue to work with all our partners on a mutually advantageous basis.

Alexei Miller: Yes, sir.