Vladimir Putin: Mr Medvedev, how did it go today?
Dmitry Medvedev: We had a meeting of the board of directors today, and on the agenda was the issue connected with the expiry of the term of Mr Vyakhirev as Chairman of the Board.
Vladimir Putin: The expiry of the contract.
Dmitry Medvedev: Yes, the expiry of the term of the contract. The board of directors unanimously elected Mr Miller, Deputy Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation, to the post of Chairman of the Board.
Vladimir Putin: Unanimously means that Mr Vyakhirev also agrees.
Dmitry Medvedev: And I believe that at the next meeting of shareholders the future board of directors will decide on the Chairman of the Board of Directors and the most balanced candidature for the post seems to be that of Mr Vyakhirev, who has colossal experience managing the gas sector. It would create an effective alliance between the new forces in the person of the new Chairman of the Board and the experience possessed by Mr Vyakhirev so that the company could continue developing in the right direction.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Kasyanov, what is your opinion?
Mikhail Kasyanov: I am fully supportive. I think that movement in the right direction will continue and that the positions of Gazprom gained in the preceding years will not be lost.
Vladimir Putin: I agree with the opinion of the Prime Minister. Gazprom is more than just a joint stock company. The company contributes 25% of the federal budget and the whole economy of the country is to a large extent based on the gas sector, on energy. The gas sector and energy create a good basis. They enable the economy to develop as a whole.
I think this is what Mr Vyakhirev has managed to do during the many years that he was the head of Gazprom. He has managed to keep domestic gas prices fairly low, $12 per 1,000 cubic metres, to remind you. The export price is $132 per 1,000 cubic metres for Western Europe today. That base for economic development and supply to the households must be preserved. I think it should be the number one task for you, Mr Miller, with the support of Mr Vyakhirev and the Gazprom team, which has taken shape over the years.
Of course, we should understand that the situation when much of the economy can only develop due to the energy sector, and the gas sector in particular, cannot be forever if we are not to drive the gas sector and the power sector as a whole into a dead end. Obviously, the situation will have to change gradually. Mr Vyakhirev was telling me about it. But we must show a clear and smooth path towards changing that situation and bringing about a normal balance of all its elements. I think that the proposal made by Medvedev makes good sense. Indeed, we can find a very good balance in terms of personnel, and the experience of Mr Vyakhirev can and must be used in this sphere. But we very much hope that Mr Miller will manage to preserve and multiply all the achievements of the past years. One of the main challenges is not only to preserve, but to increase the role of the Government in the company and in the sector as a whole while of course scrupulously respecting the interests of the shareholders, and strictly performing our obligations to the population, the consumers inside the country and meeting our obligations to Gazprom’s partners abroad.