Viktor Borisovich Khristenko (born August 28, 1957 in Chelyabinsk) is the current Industry and Energy Minister (since 9 March 2004). His wife Tatiana Golikova is the Minister of Health and Social Development (since September 2007).
Khristenko was the acting prime minister of Russia from 24 February to 5 March, 2004. Russian President Vladimir Putin fired Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov on February 24, 2004. At the time, The Washington Post called Kasyanov "the most powerful ally of big business remaining in the Russian government." Khristenko, only 46 at the time, was promoted from Deputy Prime Minister to acting Prime Minister. Putin commented that Kasyanov's ousting was not related to the results of the government's activities, which he characterized as positive, but rather was caused by a necessity to once again confirm his position, which would guide the development of the country after March 14, 2004. However, on 1 March, 2004 Putin nominated Mikhail Fradkov to become the next prime minister. Fradkov was confirmed by the Duma four days later.
Khristenko told journalists in Sochi on 27 September, 2006 that the Government of Russia was considering participating in building the Nabucco Pipeline from Turkey to Austria through Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. Khristenko said the government was "studying all projects, including Nabucco. But economics determine everything. If demand is high, then real routes will appear." Gazprom, the state-owned gas company of Russia, already plans to lengthen its Blue Stream pipeline, which runs from Russia to Turkey along the bottom of the Black Sea, to southern Europe and Israel.
Kazakhstan gas deal
Khristenko and Baktykozha Izmukhambetov, the Energy and Mineral Resources' Minister of Kazakhstan, signed an intergovernmental agreement in a ceremony on 3 October, 2006 in Uralsk. The agreement created a joint venture to process gas from the Karachaganak field using the Orenburg gas processing plant. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev were present during the signing. On 2 October, 2006 Putin called the deal "a serious agreement involving Kazakhstan and Russia in the solution of the energy problems of key partners, including those in Western Europe" when he and President Nazarbayev promoted the deal to a forum of officials representing border regions. Nazarbayev told the forum that "Russia and Kazakhstan will be co-managers and co-owners. The question of the price of the gas from the field has also been decided." Nazarbayev did not announce the price, but said the Government of Kazakhstan would invest USD $2 billion in a gas-processing facility. The Karachaganak field is believed to have five billion barrels of oil.
Russia-Romania gas project
On 27 September 2006, Khristenko and Codruţ Şereş, the Romanian Minister of Economy and Commerce, discussed the possibility of having Gazprom create a natural gas storage center in Neamţ County, Romania. Research on the practicality of the project is now being conducted. Şereş asked Khristenko to respond to the "memorandum regarding the gas storage RomanvMărgineni," during a meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation at the Black Sea, held between September 26 and 27 in Sochi, Russia, according to an OCEMN communiqué. The project will cost between EUR $120v260 million. The storing capacity will be between 600 million and two billion cubic metres. Seres also said that the Nabucco Pipeline was a priority for the Romanian Government.