Vladimir Putin met with CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Ben van Beurden to discuss, in particular, the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project.

Royal Dutch Shell is one of the world leaders in the energy and petrochemicals sectors, operating in more than 70 countries, and has a close partnership with Russia.

Beginning of the meeting with CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Ben van Beurden

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr van Beurden, colleagues,

Allow me to cordially welcome you to Moscow and congratulate you on the 125thanniversary of your company’s operations in Russia.

The company started out with kerosene exports from the Russian Empire, namely Baku, to third countries. Now, the company is widely represented in Russia, and we have very good prospects and big plans. I will be pleased to discuss them with you today.

CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Ben van Beurden: Thank you very much, Mr President. As always, it is a pleasure to meet, and it is an honour to be back in Moscow again. You are right, 2017 is a very special year for us because it is, as you said, 125 years since we started working in and with Russia.

You have been well briefed, Mr President. It started, indeed, with the first ever bulk kerosene transport from Baku to Singapore in the Shell Murex. It was a huge success, and one could argue it was the beginning of the modern oil transportation era, and definitely the foundation of the success of our company.

But this success would not have been possible without the strong partnership from our Russian friends in those days. And that partnership, of course, has strengthened and flourished for many years since then. I am very happy and very proud of what we have done in Russia, the contribution that we have made in establishing new energy systems like LNG, and contributing to new field development.

So this time I come to Moscow specially to say “spasibo” to you, Mr President, to Russia, for the trust, for the confidence, and for the welcome that we have enjoyed for 125 years.

But I also come to say that I am optimistic about our business and the future of our business in Russia. There have been some very important developments. Recently we agreed and executed the loan agreements on Nordstream-2. And I believe Nordstream-2 is a very good project, a project that will enhance energy supply security in Europe, and a project that both Europe and Russia will benefit from.

But also, in Moscow today, I detect another sense of optimism – optimism about the match that is going to be played tonight. It is a very important match, Mr President, and I hope that, despite your very busy schedule, you will find some time to enjoy aspects of it.

Vladimir Putin: I am not sure about football, but with regard to our plans, including the Nord Stream-2 project, which you mentioned, it has every chance to be successful.

I always emphasise the fact that this is a purely commercial project and, of course, it is tied to the prospective increase in gas consumption in Europe to 510 billion cubic metres per year at a time when domestic production in European countries, including northern Europe, will be declining.

I think all we need to do is to calmly explain to all our partners, all stakeholder countries and legal entities that this project is not directed against anyone, but, on the contrary, is designed to promote the development of energy markets.

Of course, energy can be obtained from other sources. It is all about competitiveness, logistics and the cost of these components. I believe that we need to maintain a patient and friendly dialogue with all our partners