President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Dear Colleagues!
This encounter is taking place on the eve of the next scheduled meeting of Gazprom's Board of Directors. Dear friends, we have worked successfully together for the past eight years. I want to thank you for your significant contribution to the development of Gazprom and to the entire Russian fuel and energy industry.
Gazprom's role is exceptionally important. In recent years, Gazprom has been not only the flagship of the Russian economy but also a major force in the world. It is a force to be reckoned with, to negotiate with, and it occupies leading positions in a number of sectors in the global economy.
Today Gazprom has become a modern, growing, open company. We have worked on this together during recent years. Almost 20 per cent of the federal budget income is derived from Gazprom's activities. The capitalization of the company since 2000 has grown by a factor of 46. Of course this is a good result, and everyone here has had a significant hand in achieving it. Today, Gazprom is no longer a pre-reform ministry but a genuine, major Russian business, in which the Russian state owns a controlling stake.
In recent years much has been done to improve company performance. In six years production has grown by 36 billion cubic metres. Gazprom has invested in the development of transmission systems for gas. It has extended its logistical and raw materials base. It has achieved a great deal in the field of exports, expanding its area of deliveries and diversifying routes.
We have very ambitious plans and serious challenges ahead of us. I will not enumerate them. You know what they are, dear colleagues: the launch of North Stream and South Stream, the work in the Far East on a wide range of new projects in the oil sector, in electricity and other areas in which Gazprom is involved.
I would like to mention another thing that has recently occurred that is very important for the country as a whole. We started the programme of providing gas to the regions, a programme that had been in abeyance for a long time or had been taken up only in fits and starts. Over the past few years, we have managed to provide gas to 13 million citizens. This is a good result.
Of course this has not definitively resolved the problems of gas supply but the social consequences are very promising. Substantial resources were designated for this programme, more than 43 billion rubles. And I believe that the programme in which we are engaged, the gasification of the regions, has been made possible first and foremost as a result of changes that have occurred in Gazprom itself. I mean the transformation of Gazprom into a major Russian company that operates acccording to the laws of today's domestic and foreign markets.
There has been good progress in the recreational sphere. You know that the company has implemented a special programme called Gazprom for Children. This is a worthy social programme linked to the development of sports infrastructure and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.
And it is good that Gazprom has been a pioneer in this area because, strictly speaking, our common challenge, the challenge for the state and for business large and small, is to make life in our country more livable, to enable our people to play sports and our children to have the opportunity to spend time doing normal things. Gazprom is engaged in this too and this is good.
We have a lot of work ahead of us. We must move forward. We must work at developing domestic and foreign markets and continue with the gasification of the regions.
Dear Colleagues! I would like to wish great success to everyone assembled here: current members of the Board of Directors, future members of the Board of Directors, members of Gazprom's Management Committee, everyone who has worked in the company and continues to work for it today. Gazprom is a great big working family made up of hundreds of thousands of people, millions of people when one takes their families into account. And we can achieve the most exalted results.
For reasons that are well known, I will no longer be able to conduct meetings of the Board of Directors. I am confident that the new composition of the Board will continue what we have begun, but I want to say in my turn that we will have the chance to see each other and discuss things in working meetings. So nothing is coming to an end, it's only the beginning.
Thank you, dear friends, for all your hard work. And we'll meet again soon.