On August 6, Vladimir Putin met Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller in his residence outside Moscow, Vremya Novostei reports.
The president reminded Mr. Miller that Gazprom's transparency should be increased, the management improved, profitability raised, and the structure modernized. In these areas, the head of state said, the concern's leadership has vast unused reserves. President Putin asked the Gazprom chief about an increase in production, the structure of deliveries, the implementation of the energy strategy, changes in gas industry taxation and growing consumer gas prices. Mr. Miller complained about metal workers and the government, but promised to build new export gas pipelines, not "to offend" communal consumers, produce more oil and install a new internal structure in Gazprom by 2005.
The president, the newspaper noted, has not left the concern to its own devices but personally taken charge of "gas diplomacy." In the past month, Mr. Putin and Gerhard Schroeder blessed strategic agreements between Gazprom and the E.ON-Ruhrgas concern, and then concluded agreements with Leonid Kuchma on long-term gas supplies to Ukraine. It cannot be ruled out that this trend will persist in the near future. Large-scale agreements with Shell on the Sakhalin projects, on the Northern European gas pipeline and Barents Sea shelf exploration are set to be signed soon.