28 april 2010

During a visit to Astrakhan, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin officially launches oil production at a fixed LUKoil platform in the Caspian Sea


Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arrived at the platform by helicopter, and met with LUKoil President Vagit Alekperov to hear a report on the company's projects in the Caspian, Baltic and Barents Seas.

Prime Minister Putin toured the platform, and was given the honour of pressing the button to launch oil production at Korchagin field in the Caspian Sea. A few minutes later, a member the LUKoil team filled a test tube with the first oil produced at the field. LUKoil President Alekperov poured the oil in a yellow hard hat, gave the hat to Mr Putin and suggested that the prime minister wash his face in the oil, a tradition among oil producers.

Prime Minister Putin dipped his fingers in the oil and smeared it on his cheeks. Several members of his delegation, including Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, as well as Mr Alekperov and the platform's personnel followed suite.

Prime Minister Putin then spoke with the platform's personnel. He said that the beginning of LUKoil's oil production at the Korchagin field has set a new standard for operations in the Caspian Sea. "This is a very encouraging, beneficial event. We have discussed the prospects for this region, and they are impressive," said the prime minister. He emphasised that other industries in the region besides oil and gas production, notably shipbuilding, also held great promise. "LUKoil is a very responsible company in this respect, and it also gives special attention to environmental issues," said Mr Putin at the end of his conversation with the platform's personnel.

Mr Putin wished the workers success and wrote in the LUKoil guestbook.

The Korchagin oil field is situated 180 kilometres from Astrakhan and 200 kilometres from Makhachkala. Oil is extracted from a fixed platform, which was constructed in the third quarter of 2009. The platform consists of a drilling system and accommodations for personnel. The drilling system has a capacity of 560 metric tons and a maximum drilling depth of 7.4 kilometres. The platforms accommodations can house up to 105 personnel.