The event was a unique opportunity for U.S. companies to promote their services
From February 22 through February 23, the Russian Chamber of Commerce of Texas (RCCT) hosted a conference titled Innovations in the Oil and Gas Sector. Held in Houston, the conference was organized as part of the visit to Texas of a delegation of the Russian Union of Industrialists. In the course of two days, the participants of the conference took part in panel discussions and general sessions, where scientists, diplomats, politicians, and members of the business community – the representatives of the largest Russian and American oil and gas companies – engaged in a lively dialogue. The Russian participants were talking about the current state of affairs in the Russian oil and gas industry, even as the Americans took full advantage of the opportunity to showcase to the guests from abroad their innovative technologies and products.
The discussions took place not only in hotel conference rooms, but also at production facilities of several major Houston-based energy companies. RCCT organized site tours for the Russian delegates.
“This is the first time that our Chamber is accepting a delegation with such highly-placed business and government leaders,” said Elena Bespalova, the executive director of RCCT. “Apart from the members of management of the Russian Union of Industrialists, the delegation includes representatives of Russian oil and gas companies and various state establishments. We wanted to make the program as diverse as possible. We wanted to incorporate both official and one-on-one business meetings into the program, as well as tours of several production facilities of American oil and gas companies in the Houston area,” Ms. Bespalova noted. The main purpose of the trip of the Russian delegation was to learn the experience of introducing innovative technologies in the oil and gas industry in the U.S. with an eye of using the same approach in Russia.
Andrey Lotsmanov, Deputy Chairman of the Technical Regulation Committee of the Union of Russian Industrialists said that the delegation was organized under the auspices of the Industrialists’ Union because of the organization’s high esteem in Russian business circles. “The Russian President and the government of Russia are listening to what the Union of Industrialists has to say. We represent the interests of more than 320 thousand Russian businessmen. The Union’s member-companies, taken together, generate over 60 percent of Russia’s gross domestic product. The Industrialists’ Union has 36 standing committees and commissions that are carrying on their work within the framework of the broader association,” Mr. Lotsmanov said.
“Our Committee on Technical Regulation, Standardization, and Compliance now has a great deal of work to do – especially in the view of the creation of a customs union between Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. While Europe adopted 25 directives in the last 30 years to articulate the new approach, we need to devise and enact 47 such documents in the space of one year.”
“We are always conducting conferences covering issues of standardization throughout Russia and abroad. We know that it’s not always easy for foreigners to understand the intricacies of Russia’s standardization practice,” Mr. Lotsmanov added.
“We have a special relationship with the Russian Chamber of Commerce of Texas. When I was here more than a year ago on an invitation from the RCCT, I saw that it is very much possible for Russia to work with Texas. We can exchange delegations, exchange our experience and technologies. This trip is the first step in that direction, and I think that the main result has been achieved. We’ve had a candid exchange of opinions and established some direct contacts.”
“The trip to Houston was very much informative,” said Dmitry Kuzmenko, the chief federal inspector in the Khanty-Mansiysk autonomous region (Yugra). I am convinced that the cooperation between Houston and our region will be mutually beneficial for both sides. Khanty-Mansiysk is where more than half of Russia’s oil is produced, so we essentially have the same role for Russia as the state of Texas has for the U.S. We’d entertain the idea of establishing a sister-cities relationship with Houston.
It was the first visit to the United States for Mr. Kuzmenko. One of his most vividly memorable moments was the Texas-style barbeque that was organized at the Houston headquarters of Environmental Packaging Technologies. The president of the global packaging and container company, Tatiana Golovina prepared a warm reception with Texan cuisine for the guests.
To Vlad Livitsky, the president of the Houston company Intercontact Corporation, that sells oil and gas equipment, the Texas-style barbeque also seemed very much appropriate.
“Such informal meetings, in conjunction with the business part of the conference, offer excellent opportunities, as the main purpose is to get Russian and American companies together. As a rule, only the big companies were traveling to set up operations in Russia. Mid-size businesses and small businesses have traditionally been brushed aside in the economic dialogue,” Mr. Livitsky added.
In conclusion, Mr. Livitsky added “It is these companies that we should introduce to the concept of Russian-American cooperation. They need help in searching for partners. I think that the Russian Chamber of Commerce of Texas can very much take the charge on these important endeavors.”