As per the statement made by the Minister of Energy, Aleksandr Novak, last week at an intergovernmental commission, Rusneftegaz can confirm that our organization is interested in and has been actively pursuing new projects in Algeria. Whilst this is a significant divergence from our established policy of expanding further into the Russian oil and gas industry, in the early months of the year, our board of directors opted to change our existing business strategy. This ultimately entails engaging further with the prospect of international expansion into new and potentially lucrative markets. In this particular case, the North African country has one of the largest petroleum industries in the world, with oil products accounting for almost all exports from the nation. However, the Algerian hydrocarbon economy requires a considerable amount of new investment and foreign expertise to develop expansive reserves and increase production rates from current levels. As a consequence, Rusneftegaz has been invited to contemplate working in partnership with the largest company in Africa, Sonatrach, to expedite the expansion of the largest industry in Algeria. This arrangement may also involve us collaborating with other Russian entities, including Gazprom Neft, Lukoil, and Tatneft, to work on the proposed schemes and realize mutual benefits accordingly. In response to the possibility of commencing operations outside the Russian Federation for the first time, Deputy Chief Executive Officer Aleksandr Filyurin stated:
“The prospect of working with a large state-owned company in a country that produces over 1,5 million barrels per day was simply too good to ignore. We have been reviewing all this for some time now, and it is fair to say that some very interesting proposals have been presented to us. Although there is a lot more still to do and to look at, I am positive about the work we have been doing for the past few months, and I hope we are able to announce something more definitive about this soon.”
Therefore, Rusneftegaz can also announce that we have reserved an appropriately-sized provision of funds to facilitate a preliminary investigation of the plans available to us, and will expand this sum accordingly if necessary. Similarly, we can also disclose that Rusneftegaz is also engaging with potential business opportunities in other OPEC member countries in addition to Algeria. However, our board of directors intends to review all viable options available to our organization at this present time, and will make any relevant announcements in due course.