President Vladimir Putin: I am very happy to see you once more in Moscow. But before we begin out talk, I would like to congratulate your colleague, Mr Fridman. It was his birthday today. And I would like to wish him the very best.
Mr Browne, British Petroleum is one of the companies that is most interested in the Russian economy. And, as far as I understand, cooperation with your Russian partners is developing very successfully, and business is going well. In upholding the decision that was made two years ago, we were not mistaken if only because the profit that the unified company and your management now shows has increased more than 20 times. This shows the quality of management. As far as I know, according to the information that I have, almost a quarter of the oil produced by British Petroleum is produced in the Russian Federation, and almost a quarter of the income of British Petroleum is received by working here in Russia. TNK-British Petroleum is one of the three largest oil companies in Russia by production and volume of supplies – if I am not mistaken, around 1.2 billion tons of supplies.
TNK-British Petroleum is represented in all important Russian oil and gas provinces, and the volumes produced, and the volume of work is increasing – there has been a significant increase in the first quarter. I would like to express the hope that your business in Russia will continue to develop at the same rates and with the same quality.
What is particularly pleasing for me is how you describe British Petroleum – I heard you call it a “corporate citizen of the Russian Federation” and this reflects the approach to solving problems, including of a social nature, which we encounter, which you see and which you also take part in solving, and continue to take part in solving in future. I would like to thank you warmly for this.
Mr Browne: Mr President, thank you very much for seeing us again. It’s a very great pleasure to see you. I remember when we last met you set me a four-point agenda which I have not forgotten. And I don’t believe any of the shareholders in TNK-BP has forgotten it. And it is… You said to me: first you have to increase production. Second you said we have to add technology. Thirdly, you said we have to make management world-class. And fourth you said we had to be a good Russian corporate citizen.
I have not forgotten this agenda. And I believe we have very considerable facts, figures and data to support good progress on each of these four points.
One of the things of course which we have been doing, which is I think very important, is investing not only for the day but also for the long term future.
And since… We are developing in several dimensions. First, over the last 1,5 years this company has doubled the investment it is making per year for the future development of oil and gas resources to increase production. The number now stands well over $2 billion a year.
Secondly, it is, as you say, increasing production. We are doing it very rapidly. And it’s adding reserves, which is very good for Russia as well as, of course, it is good for BP and TNK-BP. What we are adding makes 130 per cent of the reserves that are being taken out. And it’s modernizing and adding world-class activity to the management of the company, building on the excellent, and I do stress, the excellent Russian work force, that was there.