President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Miller, first I would like you to report on the general situation on the domestic market and with international supplies.
There is another issue I would like to talk about today. Some time ago I discussed gas cooperation with President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych. He asked you to visit Ukraine for talks with him and his colleagues regarding the development of cooperation with Ukraine, both current and in the future. I would also like to hear your report on the results of this trip and your talks.
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller: Regarding gas consumption in the Russian Federation in 2010 and since the start of 2011. All the main industries are showing steady growth in consumption: electric power, metals, agrochemical and the cement industry.
However, the export market beats all the records. In the first quarter of 2011, the volume of gas export exceeded the same period in 2010 by 12%, in April by over 20% and in May by 30%. Daily volume of gas supplies to Europe is comparable to deliveries made in the winter months.
Dmitry Medvedev: Why is that?
Alexei Miller: There are a number of external factors to account for this: the events in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the nuclear crisis in Japan.
The total volume of gas exports compared with the same period last year has already exceeded 25 billion cubic metres; therefore, the launch of the first line of the Nord Stream pipeline is very timely. We completed the construction of an offshore gas pipeline and laid the last pipe. The first commercial gas deliveries to Western Europe will take place in October or November.
Dmitry Medvedev: I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Gazprom and your partners on the successful completion of this stage. It was a major and challenging task. I took part in the project at its outset and I must say that you have completed it at an impressive pace.
Alexei Miller: Mr President, I can add that we are strictly on schedule on another major gas transportation project, the South Stream.
We will hold a presentation of this project in Brussels this week. The project has already become pan-European: its implementation involves companies from Germany, France and Italy. Without a doubt, this project is very timely and in demand, because gas consumption in Europe is growing, and this is a stable trend.
Per your directive I have met with President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych. We exchanged views on gas market trends and Gazprom has confirmed that the current contract is based strictly on the basis of the market pricing formula.
During the meeting we discussed possible new forms of cooperation that can bring the Russian-Ukrainian ties to a new level.
Dmitry Medvedev: In the future I would like you to bear two points in mind.
The first point is that we must respect the current agreements. This applies to the Russian Federation and Gazprom, and equally to our Ukrainian partners. Various appeals to take some unilateral action or revise the terms should be considered strictly in the context of the agreement. This is the first point, and the fact that you have confirmed this is absolutely correct.
And the second point. For us, Ukraine is not some little-known distant partner. It is very close, brotherly nation, which is experiencing many economic problems at present. President Yanukovych and I have agreed to consider using some advanced forms of cooperation in the future, including gas cooperation. So, stay in touch and work with your partners and your colleagues, and we will continue our dialogue with Ukraine’s leadership.