News: Latest News
Latest NewsCompaniesMarketsEconomy & ForexCommoditiesInterest RatesBusiness LeadersFinance Pro.CalendarSectors 
All NewsEconomyCurrencies & ForexEconomic EventsCryptocurrenciesCybersecurityPress Releases

Putin talks up energy ties in address to Italy's business elite

01/26/2022 | 05:37am EDT

* Putin talks energy cooperation with Italy businessmen

* Meeting went ahead despite government plea

* Talks 'friendly and constructive', Ukraine not discussed (Adds comments after meeting)

MILAN/MOSCOW, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed the importance of ties between Russia's energy industry and Italy as he addressed Italian business leaders in a video-conference on Wednesday despite rising tensions over Ukraine.

The meeting with top Italian companies, including state-controlled Enel, went ahead despite a call from Rome for business executives not to attend.

Western leaders are stepping up preparations for any Russian military action against Ukraine and making plans to shield Europe from potential disruptions to Russian energy supplies.

Energy is one of the main issues on the agenda for Europe as surging natural gas prices have inflated energy bills for businesses and households. Russia supplies the European Union with around a third of its gas.

"I would like to underscore that we consider Italy as one of the leading economic partners," Putin said in opening remarks, noting that Italian energy companies were benefiting from long-term supply deals with Gazprom.

He said Moscow was especially pleased with cooperation with Italian companies and banks on large-scale projects in the energy sector like Yamal LNG and Arctic LNG 2.

An organiser of the event told Reuters the two-and-a-half hour meeting with top managers from 16 companies had lasted longer than expected and had been friendly and constructive.

"Putin never spoke about Ukraine or Italian politics," the head of the Italy-Russia chamber of commerce (CCIR) Vincenzo Trani said.

Underscoring the business links between the two countries, industrial group Maire Tecnimont, also represented at the meeting, said on Wednesday it had won a contract from Russian oil group Rosneft worth 1.1 billion euros.

VIDEO LINK

Managers of big Italian companies, including power group Enel, the country's top two banks Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit and insurer Generali met Putin via the video link.

The Italian executives, who included UniCredit CEO Andrea Orcel and Enel chief Francesco Starace, gathered in two luxury hotels in Rome and Milan.

"The meeting is a private initiative and there is no government involvement in it," an Italian government official said.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russian ministers would attend the meeting as well as Igor Sechin, head of Rosneft and Dmitry Konov, head of petrochemical company Sibur.

The video call was organised by the CCIR and the Italian-Russian business committee chaired by Marco Tronchetti Provera, head of tyre manufacturer Pirelli.

Other companies scheduled to take part included state-controlled energy groups Eni and Saipem . But Eni said on Tuesday it would not attend, while a source said Saipem had also opted not to take part.

Eni has strategic long-term gas contracts with Russia and agreements with Rosneft which are on hold. Italy sources around 40% of its gas from Russia.

Enel CEO Starace, whose brother Giorgio is the Italian ambassador to Moscow, took part in the meeting, pictures showed. The world's biggest private green energy group operates in Russia through Enel Russia and has renewable power ventures.

Trani said the energy transition and green technology had been one of the issues discussed as well as broader industrial ties.

Italy was Russia's fifth biggest trading partner in 2020. Their trade in the first nine months of last year was up 44% on the same period the previous year.

Putin said around 500 Italian firms operated in Russia in sectors like energy, steel, and banking, investing around $5 billion in the economy.

(Reporting by Crispian Balmer in Rome, Stephen Jewkes in Milan and Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow, additional reporting by Valentina Za, Elvira Pollina, Giuseppe Fonte and Giulio Piovaccari, writing by Giulia Segreti; editing by Keith Weir and Jane Merriman)


© Reuters 2022
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ASSICURAZIONI GENERALI S.P.A. -0.58% 17.995 Delayed Quote.-3.41%
ENEL S.P.A. 3.15% 6.123 Delayed Quote.-13.10%
INTESA SANPAOLO S.P.A. -0.25% 1.983 Delayed Quote.-12.80%
LONDON BRENT OIL 0.94% 112.54 Delayed Quote.42.93%
MAIRE TECNIMONT S.P.A. 1.89% 2.8 Delayed Quote.-32.69%
PIRELLI & C. S.P.A. -0.70% 4.514 Delayed Quote.-26.10%
PUBLIC JOINT STOCK COMPANY GAZPROM NEFT -2.63% 407 End-of-day quote.-25.29%
PUBLIC JOINT STOCK COMPANY INTER RAO UES 1.27% 2.881 End-of-day quote.-32.57%
PUBLIC JOINT-STOCK COMPANY ENEL RUSSIA -2.08% 0.47 End-of-day quote.-45.46%
ROSNEFT OIL COMPANY 0.00% 0.6018 Delayed Quote.-92.52%
S&P GSCI NATURAL GAS INDEX -2.64% 382.901 Real-time Quote.119.25%
SAIPEM S.P.A. -4.00% 1.079 Delayed Quote.-41.52%
UNICREDIT S.P.A. -1.58% 9.94 Delayed Quote.-26.61%
US DOLLAR / RUSSIAN ROUBLE (USD/RUB) 0.00% 61.75 Delayed Quote.-17.11%
WTI 1.22% 110.515 Delayed Quote.44.84%
Latest news "Economy & Forex"
05:58pN.Korea reports 'positive trend' in COVID fight as fever cases dip
RE
05:50pUkrainian negotiator rules out ceasefire, concessions to Russia
RE
05:34pWho says as of 21 may, 92 confirmed cases and 28 suspected cases…
RE
05:34pWHO Says As Of 21 May, 92 Confirmed Cases And 28 Suspected Cases Of Monkeypox Have Been Reported To WHO From 12 Member States Not Endemic For The Virus
RE
04:34pSiemens Energy launches $4.3 bln bid for remaining Siemens Gamesa stake
RE
04:32pNew York judge approves congressional map, throwing Democrats into disarray
RE
03:57pUKRAINE AND RUSSIA : What you need to know right now
RE
03:57pUKRAINE AND RUSSIA : What you need to know right now
RE
03:56pUkrainian negotiator rules out ceasefire or concessions to Russia
RE
03:22pUkraine's Zelenskiy talked to Italian PM, urged more Russia sanctions
RE
Latest news "Economy & Forex"