No. 1, 2005


Oil of Russia magazine talks to Prof. Valery Salygin, Director of the International Institute for Energy Policy and Diplomacy (IIEP) under the MGIMO University

Q: Professor Salygin, what was the actual purpose of founding the International Institute for Energy Policy and Diplomacy.

A: The International Institute for Energy Policy and Diplomacy was set up under MGIMO University at the beginning of 2000, so, in February, our institute will be celebrating its truly first five-year anniversary.

The setting up of our Institute is linked with the processes that have been taking place in world politics and the world economy in recent years. These include the bigger role the energy factor started to play in international relations, the greater impact of political processes on the development of the world energy sector and, finally, the rapid development of energy policy and diplomacy.

The active operations of the Russian oil and gas companies on the world energy markets and the visible expansion of international cooperation in the oil and gas sector have engendered an acute need for specialists in the field of energy diplomacy and geopolitics, international law, world economics, finances, management, and marketing in the sphere of oil, gas and energy sector. Our institute is training experts in precisely these areas.

Q: Who was behind the founding of the institute?

A: The idea of setting up our Institute was strongly supported by the State Duma and the Council of the Federation of the RF Federal Assembly, the RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as other federal ministries dealing with the issues of economic development, energy and education.

A major contribution made by the leading companies in the Russian fuel and energy sector to the formation and development of the IIEP should also be noted.

In 2001, a Supervisory Council was set up for the development of the institute, with the Minister for Foreign Affairs as its head. Today the members of the Supervisory Council include the heads of the administrations of the ten key oil and gas regions of Russia ? the Republic of Komi, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the Sakhalin, Tomsk and Tyumen regions, the Khanty-Mansi and Yamal-Nenets autonomous areas, and others, as well as the heads of over thirty leading companies, such as joint-stock companies LUKOIL, Gazprom, United Energy Systems of Russia, Rosneft, Surgutneftegaz, Tatneft, Sibneft, Bashneft and Zarubezhneft.

Finally, I would like to say that the founding of our Institute was made possible owing to the efforts of MGIMO University Rector, Anatoly Torkunov, and Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Sciences, President of the International Academy of the Fuel and Energy Sector, Academician Nikolay Laverov, who headed within the IIEP the first Faculty of International Problems of the Fuel and Energy Sector in Russia.

Q: How would you sum up what has been achieved over the first five years of IIEP activity?

A: First of all, we have managed to set up an institute that fully meets the needs of government and international energy organizations, Russian and foreign oil and gas companies, for world class experts necessary for promoting international cooperation in the energy sector.

Today, there are about 500 students and postgraduates studying at MIEP. We have five departments: World Economics, Finances and Credit, International Trade Law, Manage-ment, and Public Relations. Students can read for a Bachelor's or Master's degree, to become a specialist, or for a second degree. Our students receive a good fundamental education, majoring in energy diplomacy, the international oil and gas business and energy cooperation. Over 60 different courses in majoring areas have already been launched at MGIMO. Some of them are worth mentioning: Energy diplomacy, World markets for energy resources, Investment activities of international oil and gas and energy companies, International trade in fuel and energy resources, Financial policy and strategy of fuel and energy complex enterprises and Oil exchanges of the world. New textbooks and study guides have, of course, been published, including Russia's first textbook on energy diplomacy, in two volumes.

Finally, it should be noted that a unique master class is offered at MGIMO on problems of international energy cooperation and energy diplomacy. This is run by presidents of companies, senior diplomats, heads of international organizations, well-known scholars and world level experts. You must agree that it is hard to overestimate the importance of lectures given by the OPEC Secretary General, the BP Group President, the President of the Transneft company, the President of Chevron Neftegaz, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia in charge of energy policy issues, the Deputy Energy Minister of Russia, responsible for developing the country's Energy Strategy, the Deputy Secretary of Energy of the United States and other eminent people.

Q: MGIMO and particulary IIEP has broad international connections. Would you comment on that?

A: Yes, we cooperate closely with leading international organizations ? OPEC, the International Energy Agency, the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers, the European Space Agency, major scientists and research centers in Europe, the United States and the Asia-Pacific Region. This collaboration is largely associated with the research, analytical and forecasting work performed by MGIMO.

In addition, a Centre for Strategic Research and Geopolitics in the Energy Sector is functioning within our Institute. Together with OPEC, since 2002 we have been carrying out joint research into and forecasting of trends in the development of the world oil market, studying price formation, and the impact of political and macro-economic factors on the markets for energy resources. On average, twice a year we hold joint seminars in Moscow and Vienna, the results providing the basis for our short and long-term forecasts. Besides, major world research centers, such as the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan, also participate in this research. Most analytical projects dealing with the study of regional markets for energy resources, risks assessment and pre-investment analysis are carried out at the request of major oil companies.

Our interaction with the European Space Agency involves a study, jointly with some leading companies, into the use of new technologies and satellite observation data for developing oil and gas fields, designing and laying oil and gas pipelines and monitoring the state of the environment.

Still another major aspect of our international ties should be mentioned, concerning both research and educational projects. Together with leading European universities, IIEP has founded the Russian-French Institute for Energy Diplomacy, the Russian-Italian Institute for World Energy and the Russian-Norwegian Institute for Energy Cooperation. Our partners in setting up these institutes include, also, famous study centers, such as the National Institute of Petroleum, France, Bocconi University in Milan, the State University of Genoa, and the Bodo University in Norway. Our educational institutions are jointly developing new Masters' programs, various short-term study and consultation programs for executives and experts of oil and gas companies, traineeships for students and, finally, research projects.

Considering the experience of developing three joint institutes, we are also reviewing the possibility of organizing a Russian-German Institute for Energy Policy and Economics and a Russian-American Institute for Strategic Energy Partnership. Incidentally, MGIMO has close contacts with leading U.S. universities ? Stanford, Columbia, the universities of Texas, Oklahoma and Alaska. Together with Stanford University, it is planned to open a joint MBA program. It should be noted that the programs implemented on the basis of the joint institutes are actively supported by major oil and gas companies of Germany, France, Italy, Norway, Britain and the United States.

Q: One of the companies actively cooperating with the IIEP is the leader of the Russian oil industry ? JSC LUKOIL. How would you describe this collaboration?

A: It is really fruitful and promising. We interact actively with LUKOIL in both the educational and the research and analytical spheres. We have students studying on their first degree courses, for a second degree and on postgraduate courses, sent to us by LUKOIL and its subsidiaries.

LUKOIL is implementing a large number of international projects in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. Considering the Company's dynamic operations on international markets, the IIEP organizes seminars for LUKOIL experts on country or region history and national business customs and runs language training programs, taking into account the specifics of international oil and gas projects.

Besides, precisely in connection with the fact that the leading Russian companies are expanding their presence on the world energy markets and are closely cooperating with foreign corporations in developing Russian oil and gas fields, this year a Centre for Specialized Language Training has been opened within our institute. MGIMO has broad expertise and experience in teaching foreign languages. Today, 53 languages are taught here, at the highest level and with a professional orientation. For this reason, we are convinced that the new Centre for Specialized Language Training under IIEP will be able to meet the requirements of our leading oil companies implementing projects throughout the world.

Q: From what you say, the Institute has achieved a lot in its five years of existence. What do you see as the future of the IIEP, its place in the European education system?

A: We are, of course, striving for the IIEP to become fully integrated into the world education system. That is why particular attention is focused today on the effectiveness of the academic process and the quality of the education provided. This is important both in the light of Russia joining the Bologna Declaration or, in other words, the integrated European Higher Education Area, and in view of the ongoing processes of integration of the Russian oil and gas sector into the world energy community. It is very important for us that the activities of the Institute, our curricula and courses, as well as our research projects, should meet the present-day requirements of our country's oil and gas companies.

We have no doubts now that the graduates from our institute have a great future before them. We also see it as our task to train top professionals and provide a serious analytical framework to cope with the tasks facing the Russian oil and gas industry in the world arena. Ultimately, as we all realize, it is a matter of our country's role in world energy policy, of strengthening Russia's authority as a major energy power and, of course, of ensuring the stability of our common future and of global energy security.

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Oil of Russia, No. 1, 2005
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