President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Your Royal Highness, Mrs Minister, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today really is a good day. Not only have we launched this big project, but we have excellent weather here in Sakhalin, and this is a help in holding any event.
I would like to say a few words as further evidence of the attention we pay to these kinds of projects and the opportunities they open up.
I think we have indeed opened a new chapter in Sakhalin’s development today. This plant that we have built is at once an important resource for the region’s development and a very serious business. These kinds of big innovative high-technology projects are important for all countries and economies and for Russia in particular. This marks a new direction in our policy in the Far East.
I hope that this project will enable us to increase our energy production and considerably diversify our energy business. At the same time, it will open up new markets for our energy resources and give us new technological capability.
We have just launched this new project, and have seen the means that will be used to transport the liquefied gas it produces. It all looks impressive I must say, for outsiders like myself in any case. For industry insiders this is perhaps just an everyday situation, but of course this huge production facility built by tens of thousands of people, and the enormous gas tanker, a high-tech ship in which practically everything is automatic and is run by a crew of just 25 people – this is all the new age in energy without any doubt.
Not only has our country joined the club of 15 countries that export liquefied natural gas, but we have built one of the best production plants together with all of the participants in this project. Once it reaches full capacity, the plant will produce more than 9.5 million tons of liquefied natural gas, almost 10 million tons of liquefied natural gas, and this represents around 5 percent of world supplies. This is clearly a serious project, a project designed for the decades to come. It is not by chance that, speaking before about the plant’s future prospects, we noted that the contracts for its output have been signed for decades ahead.
It is perhaps also symbolic in a way that this plant is beginning operation right in the middle of the international financial and economic crisis. This is of course a signal that we are ready to work with our partners in all different situations, even during the most difficult periods. It is also a signal that crises come and go, but production of this kind stays and lays a long-term foundation for an excellent business partnership.
Here today we have an example of good and effective work between Russia, Japan, Britain and The Netherlands, at the government level and at business level. This project would not have succeeded without government support. But it would also not have succeeded without the active and substantial work of the companies taking part. I would like to thank once again the heads of Shell, Mitsui, Mitsubishi and Gazprom for their joint efforts, and also the project’s operator, Sakhalin Energy, for ensuring excellent coordination at every stage of the project.
We have seen the fruits of this joint work today. I hope that this kind of successful project will inspire Russian and foreign companies to develop new ideas in this area and carry out big new projects in Siberia, the Far East and other parts of Russia. Russia is rich in natural energy sources, minerals, and other energy sources. I think that we will soon see the organisation of big new projects in this area.
Once again, I thank you for your work together. I hope that the long journey you have made to reach Sakhalin and the jet lag that those of you who have flown from Europe are no doubt feeling will not stop us from celebrating this good event today.
Once more, I offer you my congratulations and thank you. Let the journey be a good one!