Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you here today. I am glad to have this opportunity to speak with the recipients of the international Global Energy Awards, with the representatives of Russia’s leading energy companies and its scientific community, and with the people who work with energy on a practical basis and head major European and international companies.
The Global Energy Awards aim at supporting research and new developments in the energy sector. I very much hope that this initiative will help strengthen ties within the international scientific community and encourage new joint projects.
The tasks faced by the energy sector today require not just close cooperation between fundamental and applied science and the business community, but also the broadest international cooperation.
Today it is clear that without new energy sources and better technologies for energy production and supply, we will not be able to ensure sustainable development of our civilisation.
Our main energy sources today are non-renewable. Our esteemed friend, Noble prize winner Zhores Alferov, spoke about this today. What’s more, the way we produce and consume this energy often has negative consequences, above all for the environment.
The energy supply technologies we use today cause a large part of the energy to be lost. If today’s growth rates and energy consumption continue as they are, within a few generations our descendents will find themselves facing a global energy crisis. But this will only happen if countries and the business and scientific communities fail to unite their efforts to work together on developing the scientific know-how and technology that will ensure future energy supplies for the world. This will only be possible if we put into it serious intellectual resources, the necessary capital investment and government efforts.
It is essential that we learn how to conserve our energy resources and create energy-saving and environmentally friendly technologies. It is no coincidence that Gennady Mesyats and Ian Douglas Smith, the first recipients of the Global Energy Award, were chosen for their achievements in developing a technology that considerably reduces energy loss during transportation.
People are now beginning to move towards renewable, alternative energy sources, such as nuclear, solar, and wind energy. I agree that it is not possible to privatise solar energy, but without private initiative and the necessary investment, above all from private companies, it will not be possible to create the necessary technology and develop its mass-scale industrial use.
I am sure that everyone is interested in subjects such as developing an international energy partnership and strengthening global energy security and stability.
For many decades now, Russia has been a major and highly reliable supplier of energy resources to the world market. Taking just the example of our energy cooperation with the European Union, we supply 16% of the EU’s oil needs and 20% of its natural gas. I think that Russia’s role will only increase further.
Russian companies are actively developing new markets today, including in the United States, Asia and the Far East. Our plans include the development of oil and gas fields in eastern Siberia, on Sakhalin Island and in the Russian zone of the Caspian Sea. It is in Russia’s interest to have a predictable and stable world energy market that is not subject to sudden sharp ups and downs.
We discussed energy issues at the recent summit in Evian. I made a statement then that drew the attention of my colleagues, and I would like to repeat it now. Russia with its vast resources could play a key part in ensuring global energy security.
We will soon approve a long-term energy development programme for the country: the Russian Energy Strategy for the period until 2020. This document will set out the main outlines for state policy on energy resource use and will define the mechanisms for cooperation between the state and the business community in this sector.
We also intend to improve the financial, legal and information mechanisms for international cooperation. I firmly believe that we have a great potential for partnership and dialogue in the energy sector. And the main thing is that I am sure we have the necessary understanding and mutual interest.
Thank you very much for your attention. It will be a pleasure for me now to listen to you.
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I think that Russia’s position regarding fair regulation of prices and stability and predictability on the market is completely understandable, explainable and natural. It is a result of the way our economy is organised and the difference between us and other major energy exporters. We are not satisfied with the development of some sectors of our economy, but unlike other energy exporters, we have other sectors of the economy that are also quite well developed and have very good potential. This means that we have no interest in seeing energy prices rise too high, because in the end it has negative consequences for the Russian economy.
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Both we ourselves and our foreign partners now note that the Russian economy has stabilised and predict that it will grow. But Exxon Mobil came to Russia and announced large-scale investment plans at a time when only the first signs of recovery were visible. We remember this and appreciate it.
As regards our legislation on minerals use and on production sharing agreements, there are various aspects involved here, and you are well aware of them. We have to take into account the interests of the state and the interests of Russian companies, and our aim is to ensure equal conditions for all market participants and energy producers, both Russian and foreign.
Looking at production sharing agreements, there should be preferential treatment only in cases when the participants in a project and their activities really do have to deal with considerable risk. For the Russian authorities, there should be no difference between Russian and foreign participants in this process. All of our major companies, some of which are represented here today, have called for this approach.
I know that the negotiations on the Sakhalin-1 project were not easy, and I know that you and your partners were tough negotiating partners for the Russian Government. But nonetheless, all the problems were resolved and solutions were found. I think that we will also make progress together on other major projects.
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We have looked at almost all the main points on today’s agenda. This includes training professionals, nuclear energy, cooperation in the gas sector and synchronisation of energy systems.
Development of any of these areas is of fundamental importance for cooperation between Russia and the European Union, and for our economy. On almost all these questions we are engaged in tough negotiations and often disputes. This concerns access to European markets for Russian nuclear fuel and liberalisation of the gas market, which our partners often take as meaning the right to re-export our natural gas. But our interests are so closely intertwined and we so obviously complement each other that I am sure we will be able to resolve all the issues before us.
I would sincerely like to thank you for having found the time to put aside your work and come to St Petersburg today. I believe, and my Russian friends will agree, that it is to a large extent thanks to your work in Russia that our country is changing and that we ourselves are changing. I have to say that we have learned a great deal from you, but we will take only the positive.
It is my hope, and I think that it is possible, that the Global Energy Awards will become a sort of club based on common interests. And I would very much like to see this club get bigger.
Thank you very much.