Russia's biggest oil company Lukoil produced 78.3 mln tons of oil in 2001, with 2.2 mln. tons of that amount extracted outside Russia, Lukoil president Vagit Alekperov announced at a session of the company's Board of Directors held to assess Lukoil's performance in 2001. According to Alekperov, Lukoil accounts for 22 percent of Russia's total oil production. In 2001, the company increased its volume of drilling work by 26 percent as compared to 2000, with 850 new oil wells effectively brought into operation. In addition, the company further built up the stock of its proven oil reserves by 128.9 mln tons. It was the company's new production areas - the Timan-Pechora oil fields (in the north of European Russia) and the oil sites in the Northern Caspian region - that accounted for the lion's share of the reserves growth. In all, the company discovered 10 new deposits of hydrocarbons in 2001. Among other things, Lukoil's geologists discovered a promising oil field in the Saratov Region, the first such find in the region over the last decade. The field contains three high-yield oil occurrence zones. In 2001, Lukoil also produced 5.2 billion cubic meters of natural gas, a 4 percent increase over the 2000 level. Preliminary statistics show that the company's 2001 oil exports amounted to 33 mln tons (28.4 mln tons in 2000). The company processed 38 mln tons of oil at its own refineries last year (32.2 mln tons in 2000). 25.6 mln tons of Lukoil oil products were sold on the domestic market and 10.7 mln tons went for export. Lukoil's gas-processing facilities handled over 1 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2001. The company also managed to commission and set afloat its new ice-breaking oil tanker as well as to put into operation a new oil terminal in the Kaliningrad Region (Russia's enclave in the Baltic area) with a capacity of handling over 1.5 mln tons of oil and oil products a year. The terminal boasts a 80,000- cubic- meter oil storage facility. The volume of Lukoil's investment in 2001 surged by 44 percent against 2000 and reached the amount of 92.6 billion roubles.
Several years ago, a prominent Indonesian businessman who now resides in Canada, insisted on meeting me in a back room of one of Jakarta's posh restaurants. An avid reader of mine, he 'had something urgent to tell me', after finding out that our paths were going to be crossing in this destroyed and hopelessly polluted Indonesian capital.