After signing the contract on behalf of Geoplin, CEO Boštjan Napast said that the move was a good sign for potential long-term cooperation. Director general Elena Burmistrova signed the contract on behalf of Gazprom Export.
Napast also said that Slovenian economic diplomacy had played a significant role, thanking President Borut Pahor and Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec for their efforts. They contributed considerably to the completion the deal, he said.
Negotiations on the deal were completed in late 2017 and the agreement already took effect at the start of 2018.
Gazprom deputy chairman Alexander Medvedev, who was also present at the signing today, said that it came as no surprise that the deal was signed in 2018, because the year marks four decades since Russia first started supplying gas to Slovenia.
The document signed today is not merely an extension of the existing deal but a new contract. Medvedev is confident that the companies would start discussing a new contract soon, saying that the next deal would most likely be more long-term oriented.
Minister Erjavec, who was also present at the event, said that negotiations were technically demanding but expressed satisfaction with the deal.
"Slovenia and Russia have a good cooperation despite the complexity of international relations," the foreign minister said. The deal is especially important for Slovenia's economy, whose energy demands are increasing, he added.
Calculations suggest that the contract will satisfy about 5% of Slovenia's energy needs.
Russian Ambassador Doku Zavgajev also said the relations between the two countries were good, pointing to "common roots, traditions and dedication to strengthen cooperation further".
Medvedev also met Agriculture Minister Dejan Židan in the morning. The latter took part in talks for cooperation in Geoplin and Gazprom during his visit to Russia in early 2017.