President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr van Beurden, friends, I am very happy to see you, this time in St Petersburg. Shell has been working in Russia for a long time, since the end of the 19th century, I believe, and today the company is active in many projects and is a big investor in the Russian economy, with over 15 billion in direct investment. This is why I am very glad to see you and discuss cooperation prospects with our colleagues.
Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden: Thank you very much, Mr President. Thank you very much for the opportunity to meet with you again.
You are right that we have been in the country for a long time, 127 years now. And we value that long-term partnership, but I equally value the opportunity to periodically catch up with you, Mr President, and talk about the future.
So, since the last time we met, there have been quite a few developments that I would like to share with you. First of all, two months ago we celebrated 25 years of Sakhalin Energy. And that, of course, has been a tremendously successful project with more than a hundred million tonnes of energy delivered to customers in the Far East. But also $25 billion of revenues directly from the project to the Russian Federation. More than $25 billion of contracts being awarded to Russian contractors and partners in the supply chain. And of course, it has been the foundation of the birth of the energy industry in your country, Mr President.
But very important also, last month, at the St Petersburg Economic Forum we made a major step forward with our long-term partner Gazprom Neft. Because we agreed formally to extend our collaboration in West Siberia, developing new resources next to our existing collaboration. And that will be the single biggest investment in the conventional oil and gas sector in the last five years.
But, of course, next to that we also have a good downstream business, our retail business is important to us, and we have focused Russia as one of the key five growth countries in the world. So, over the next five years, we will be adding at least one retail station a week in order to extend our network to the country.
And also, our lubricants business is doing very well, Mr President. We are clearly the number one international player and we source almost all of our lubricants that we sell here in Russia from our Russian operations.
And then a small thing, but one that I am still very proud of, is that a few days ago we also entered as a partner in the cultural ties between the Netherlands and Russia, where we support the Year of Rembrandt here in St Petersburg at the Hermitage and I am very proud of that, as well. But at the same time, we have many ambitions in your country for the future, and I hope we will have the opportunity to compare how our ambitions line up with your desires and how we can be an even stronger partner for the Russian Federation.
Vladimir Putin: I would also like to thank you for your participation in cultural and educational initiatives in Russia. What you have said about the Hermitage is not the only area you are involved in. There is also the Bolshoi Theatre and some other initiatives.