Moscow: Gazprom, the huge Russian energy company loosely controlled by the state, is in negotiations for a multimillion-dollar contract to help burnish its image in the international market.
Dmitry Peskov, first deputy press secretary to the Russian president, confirmed to PRWeek the details of the negotiations, first reported in the Russian press.
Gazprom is speaking to a coalition of firms, including DC-based international public affairs firm PBN, Hill & Knowlton, and the research firm Penn, Schoen & Berland. It is reportedly negotiating a three-year contract, in which the 2007 budget would be approximately $11 million.
Gazprom is seeking to deflect ongoing criticism of its business policies. Detractors say the company, which posted more than $50 billion in revenues last year, is too tightly controlled by the Kremlin, which uses it as a political weapon.
The PR contract will reportedly be signed by a subsidiary, Gazprom Export, which will position itself as a purely commercial entity.
PBN referred calls to Gazprom representatives in Moscow, who did not respond to a request for comment. H&K's DC GM Kelli Parsons did not respond to requests for comment, either.