MOSCOW, September 22 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's largest independent crude producer LUKoil plans to start extracting oil in the Russian sector of the Caspian Sea in March 2010, the company's CEO said on Tuesday.
"All the equipment has been assembled and in November we'll start drilling the first well. I want to invite you to [see] the first batch of oil in March next year. This will be the first Caspian oil in the Russian Federation," Vagit Alekperov said at a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
In mid-September, LUKoil completed the construction of a maritime platform for oil storage and loading into tankers from the Korchagin field in the Caspian Sea, some 180 km (112 miles) from Astrakhan and 240 km (149 miles) from Makhachkala, with estimated 3P reserves of 570 million barrels of oil equivalent.
The offshore deposit could yield a maximum annual output of 2.3 million (16.9 million barrels) of oil and gas condensate and 1.2 billion cubic meters of natural gas.
Eventually, LUKoil plans to start the development of other deposits in the Russian sector of the Caspian Sea.
Alekperov also said that total investment in hydrocarbon extraction in the Russian sector of the sea would reach $12 billion in the next six and a half years.