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Russia's Arctic Drilling Rig Pumps Over 4 Million Barrels of Crude

Prirazlomnaya platform

Russia's only oil drilling rig in the Arctic, the Prirazlomnaya platform, has now produced over 4 million barrels of crude oil, owner Gazprom Neft said in a statement Thursday.

Prirazlomnaya, which began producing in December 2013, has been the focus of protests by environmentalists who argue that an offshore oil spill could have catastrophic ecological consequences for the pristine Arctic territory.

“Since the start of this year more than 2.3 million barrels of oil have been produced from the Prirazlomnaya field. The total quantity of fuel loaded from Prirazlomnaya since the beginning of drilling has exceeded 4.3 million barrels,” according to Gazprom Neft.

At today's oil prices, 4.3 million barrels is worth about $215 million.

Located 60 kilometers from the coast in the icy Pechora Sea, Prirazlomnaya was targeted by activists from Greenpeace in 2013 who attempted to scale the rig. The vessel used by the Greenpeace activists, the Arctic Sunrise, was subsequently boarded by armed Russian officers and seized while the crew and captain were arrested.

Oil from Prirazlomnaya is currently shipped to Europe by tanker, according to Gazprom Neft.

Russia has ambitious plans to develop the hydrocarbon resources of the Arctic but they have been set back by recent economic woes and Western sanctions on the Kremlin over the Ukraine crisis that prohibit the export of high technology oil equipment to Russia.

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