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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

TNK-BP turns on Uvat taps

02-16-2009 - Upstream OnLine - TNK-BP turned on the taps at the Urna and Ust-Tegus fields, in the Uvat area of West Siberia's Tyumen oil patch, and pledged to invest $500 million this year to increase output in a region where most other major deposits have been depleted. TNK-BP, UK supermajor BP's Russian vehicle, plans to produce 1.5 million tonnes (11.8 million barrels) of oil from the Urna and Ust-Tegus fields this year. Output will be ramped up to a peak of 9 million tonnes per year (71 million barrels) by 2020, officials said. "It's a significant event for the country's economy," Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who oversees Russia's energy sector, said at the opening ceremony today. Russian oil production declined last year for the first time in a decade, presenting a challenge to a government that has grown used to the bumper export revenues derived from the sector. As once-bountiful West Siberian deposits become depleted, companies are investing billions of dollars with the aim of opening up new deposits in East Siberia and the Arctic. Uvat is one of the few remaining greenfield oil sites in West Siberia. TNK-BP holds 15 licences in the region, with the Urna and Ust-Tegus fields lying in the eastern sector of the province. "A complex project has been created on 15 licence areas. With the launch of this hub, a new oil province in Tyumen region has started work," Reuters quoted Sechin as saying. Crude from the two licence areas was fed into the 264-kilometre spur that links up with the national pipeline network run by Transneft . TNK-BP, has invested $925 million in the project to date, which it completed ahead of the original start-up date of 1 April. Tim Summers, TNK-BP's interim chief executive, said in a statement the project had also been completed within budget. "Our goal is to keep production flat with last year," Summers told reporters at the launch. "Keeping it flat with last year will be a challenge." The company last year launched another major project, the Verkhnechonskoye field in East Siberia.

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