25 april 2012

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with executives of the Italian company Eni

The sides discussed joint work on different Russian- Italian international projects in oil and gas production. Prime Minister Putin also discussed with Antonio Zanardi Landi the possibility of a visit to Russia by Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti.

Transcript of the meeting

Vladimir Putin: Mr Scaroni, friends, I’m very glad to see you. Good afternoon!

We have long cooperated with you and know each other, but today Eni is embarking on a qualitatively new form of cooperation with Russian companies – joint work on the shelf. This is very large-scale and long-term work involving big investments and long-term cooperation. I know that you have worked in Russia successfully and are taking part in major infrastructure projects, including the South Stream. I’m sure that these shelf projects will also be successful and I want to reassure you that our government will do everything to support them.

Paolo Scaroni, Eni CEO (via interpreter): Mr Prime Minister, first of all I’d like to congratulate you on your election victory, your election as president. As you said, in recent years Russia has upgraded its cooperation with Eni. Two weeks ago we conducted the first meeting of South Stream’s board of directors, and the work on this going at an accelerated pace.

As you know, we are expecting the final investment decision by the end of this year, in November. Last week I visited Novy Urengoy. We launched joint production there. Gazprom Neft and NOVATEK will take part in the project on the Russian side. Today we will sign an agreement with Rosneft on strategic cooperation that concerns the exploration of sections of the Barents Sea and the Black Sea.

Vladimir Putin: I think you spend more time in Russia than in Italy.

Paolo Scaroni: That’s true. That’s why I didn’t mention my talks with Mr Miller about gas supply contracts.

Vladimir Putin: He told me about them.

Paolo Scaroni: I’ve been to Russia 12 times since January 1 of this year. I see Mr Miller more often than my own wife. That’s just the way life is for us, unfortunately.

Vladimir Putin: No comment.

Paolo Scaroni: This project is very attractive for us. This section is located in the Barents Sea. We know this sea very well because we were the first who discovered oil on the shelf that belongs to Norway. As for the Black Sea, we view it as very promising, although this is new to us. Moreover, we are also developing cooperation with Rosneft. As for third countries, this is a very important direction for us. We are working with North African countries and intend to broaden this cooperation to include other countries – in the Americas and part of Europe. I’d like to note that none of this would have been possible if you had not changed the taxation system in Russia, because this is a major element for developing this offshore activity, which is very complicated.

Now I’d like to change the topic a bit. Yesterday I talked with Prime Minister Mario Monti by the telephone. I relayed this conversation to the Italian ambassador in Russia, knowing that Mr Monti is going to visit Russia in the next few months. Considering the successful development of relations between Russia and Italy, Mr Monti asked whether he could play the role of “political stamp” in our relations. I think that the St. Petersburg forum would be the best option for this. It is becoming a very important forum economically. I hope that Mr Ambassador could also add something to this.

Antonio Zanardi Landi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Italian Republic in Russia (via interpreter): Indeed, this would be a wonderful opportunity. If we cannot organise this at the St. Petersburg forum – we don’t yet know the calendar and the forum’s program – it would be best to organise this event in the months after the forum.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Ambassador, we will do everything to make the Italian prime minister comfortable. He can come at any convenient time. We will tailor our calendar to suit him, without question. Of course, it would be great to organise this during the forum because if the Italian prime minister chose to attend, this would boost the importance of the forum, something we are extremely interested in. I think it would be interesting for him as well because we generally have many good guests. They hail from practically all the former Soviet republics, and it would be possible to set up many interesting meetings.

Paolo Scarconi: Wonderful.

Vladimir Putin: I’d like to wish you success once again in this project, which was the focus of our meeting today.  I’m sure it will be a success.

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At the end of the meeting, Rosneft and Eni signed an agreement on strategic cooperation in the presence of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.