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The Times: Lukoil find 'biggest for decade'

By Carl Mortished, International Business Editor
A MAJOR discovery by Lukoil in the Caspian Sea could help to propel the Russian oil company to the top spot in private sector oil and gas reserves, ahead of ExxonMobil, the present leader.
Lukoil said that an oil and gas discovery in the northern Caspian Sea was the largest Russian find in a decade, containing oil reserves of 600 million barrels and 1.2 trillion cubic feet of gas. The company also revealed yesterday that it had paid $261 million (£146 million) for Primorieneftegaz, a company that holds a licence near Astrakhan.
Together, the two assets could add 3.3 billion barrels to Lukoil’s reserves, which currently stand at 20 billion barrels of proven oil and equivalent gas. At the end of 2004, ExxonMobil reported 22 billion barrels of oil and gas reserves.
Lukoil said that an exploration well at the Vladimir Filanovsky field had produced light, water-free low-sulphur oil at the rate of 800 tonnes per day. “Such flow rates in Russia are only known at a few wells. The average flow rate in Russia is 10.5 tonnes per day,” the company said.
Primorieneftegaz has reserves of 1.2 trillion cubic metres of gas and 300 million tonnes of condensate in a licence near the Russian town of Astrakhan.
Soaring oil and gas prices are pushing up the market value of Russia’s energy companies, which boast huge untapped reserves.
The stock market value of Gazprom, the state-controlled utility, has soared above $200 billion, competing with Royal Dutch Shell for the number three slot among quoted energy companies.

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