At the entrance to one of the pavilions, President Putin was welcomed by Dusseldorf Mayor and chairman of the exhibition centre supervisory board Joachim Irwin and other top managers of the Dusseldorf Fair, who accompanied Mr Putin to the joint stand of Germany’s leading natural gas distributor Ruhrgas and Russia’s Gazprom. Board chairmen of both companies, Burkhard Bergman and Alexei Miller, briefed President Putin on current aspects of their cooperation in the energy market and perspectives of future business development.
Mr Bergman told Mr Putin in the course of their talks that Germany was convinced Russia’s energy supplies were reliable and underlined that the unprecedented cooperation between Ruhrgas AG and Gazprom in the energy industry in the past 30 years survived even the hardest times. Mr Bergman said that in the future Moscow could count on strategic partnership with Ruhrgas. He said that following the tragic events of September 11 in the United States, the issue of reliable power supplies to Europe gained special importance.
Speaking about the most attractive projects of the two gas giants, Mr Putin singled out the gas pipeline from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea. The project would allow doubling Russian natural gas supplies to Germany and Europe. Current annual supplies of 34 billion cubic metres would be complemented by another 34 billion cubic metres, President Putin said. His statement that the commissioning of the first pipeline would increase gas supplies from Russia to Germany by 18 billion cubic metres was hailed with long applause.
The Messe Dusseldorf complex was opened in 1947 and comprises 15 pavilions with total exhibition area of 200,000 square metres. The fair has over 40 standing expositions, half of which are of global importance. The Messe Dusseldorf has over 60 representative offices in 84 countries, including Russia.